Friday, July 31, 2020

EMUFT Lecturers Union Contract Negotiation Goes South.

Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to a July 23, 2020 press release from EMUFT (Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers), Eastern Michigan University has disregarded an appointment structure that both sides had reportedly agreed on in recent weeks. According to EMUFT, the new structure would have meant enhanced job security for long-serving part-time lecturers.

EMUFT stated that a new structure had been worked out between teams which included input by the Department Heads and Union members. According to EMUFT President Daric Thorne, “The level of cooperation and inclusion of the various perspectives was unprecedented. Both teams kept reporting back to their constituents and managed to find a good, workable solution that would have benefited departments, lecturers and students in the long run. Now the Administration has completely discarded months of work.”

According to EMUFT, when the negotiations began in February both sides were in agreement that a respectful and cooperative process would be adhered to and would best serve the needs of all parties involved. The hope was that collaboration would lead to an improved relationship between the Administration and Part-time Lecturers. According to EMUFT , the relationship between the Administration and Part-Time lecturers has been contentious.

EMUFT feels that long-serving employees see their workload and livelihoods reduced each year. According to EMUFT, EMUFT and the Administration agreed early on in negotiations that finding a better appointment structure was one of their foremost concerns. According to Thorne,  “abandoning the work of several months is insulting and a colossal waste of time, effort and resources. Unlike their high cost lawyer and the rest of their bargaining team, our team is made up of uncompensated, volunteer members who participated in this process in good faith for the betterment of their colleagues and for our students."

According to EMUFT, "The administration doesn't want to provide health insurance, they don't want us to have reasonable pay or job security, and they want to take away our access to more affordable healthcare at the campus clinic in the middle of a pandemic. Do they care that they are impacting the
health and safety of their campus community, including putting our students at risk as well?"

On July 8, 2020, Eastern Michigan University sent out a press release addressing the ongoing negotiations. According to the press release, Eastern Michigan University stated that the university has great respect for part-time lecturers and their value to the University and students. According to a statement from the University, "Contract negotiations are often challenging and difficult. We plan to continue to work productively and collaboratively with the EMUFT to resolve these matters. In light of the current pandemic and its severe and disruptive impact on Michigan's economy and the budgetary challenges confronting organizations across our state, which have led to massive cutbacks and layoffs throughout the region, we believe our offers to the group are more than fair and justified."


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