By Clark Smith
Ypsilanti, MI – Eastern Michigan University's administration says it's willing to enter into non-binding fact-finding with its striking faculty in order to get contract negotiations going again.
The fact-finding offer counters a faculty union proposal made late last night to enter into binding arbitration. The university declined that offer, saying its unwilling to delegate the negotiations responsibility to a third party.
In a letter delivered to the faculty union leadership today, EMU President Dr. John Fallon said it's time for the faculty to return to the classroom and for both parties to get back to the negotiating table.
EMU's faculty went on strike last Thursday night when the university terminated contract talks after the faculty rejected what the university called its last best offer. The university says the offer included three percent pay increases in each year of a five-year contract, health care options, and improvements in retirement benefits. The faculty union says that when health care cost increases in the offer are factored in, the salary increases are actually two-point-four percent. The union also says that's for three years, not five. The union is asking for four percent salary increases, after health care costs, in each of three years.
This is the second day of Fall semester classes at EMU. Some classes were cancelled yesterday due to the strike while others were conducted by adjunct professors, lecturers, and administrators.
No new faculty contract negotiations have been scheduled thus far today.