500 Eastern Michigan University professors on strike following deadlock in contract negotiations

Posted at 6:18 AM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 06:18:41-04

(WXYZ) — Just 10 days into the new fall semester, classrooms will likely be empty as 500 faculty members at Eastern Michigan University are on strike.

This comes as contract negotiations between teachers and the university reached a deadlock.

Walter Kraft, a spokesperson with EMU says the university is offering a 15.2% pay increase to employees over the next five years.

"We think we made them a very fair offer. Most people aren't getting a 6.2% pay increase this year and we tried to do everything we can to be fair to them," he said.

However, Kilpatrick says the pay increase comes with a decrease in benefits that will leave many people with less take-home money.

"It is not what we wanted. It's not what anyone wants but hopefully, it will come to a quick resolution," Professor Matt Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick is one of the lead negotiators for the union. He says that 91% of members voted yes to a work stoppage in last night's meeting.

Now, students are in limbo unaware of whether or not their teacher will show up to class.

"I mean for students, what are we going to do about classes, tuition, and everything like that," EMU student Antrunika said.

"I know there is a lot of teachers so it must be a big problem so hopefully they fix it by the end of the week so I don't have to miss class," another student adds.

This is not the first time employees at EMU have gone on a strike. The last protest happened in 2006 and lasted two weeks. Both parties are trying to avoid a repeat of that.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, a state-appointed mediator is scheduled to meet with both sides.