More than 500 professors at Eastern Michigan University will not teach classes Wednesday.
The EMU teachers’ union said 91% of its members voted Tuesday night to strike.
The union – the EMU chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP) – is working without a contract since the end of August.
“We want to be in the classroom. But we think that’s…the thing we’re doing is a last resort,” said Matt Kirkpatrick, associate professor of English language and literature at EMU and chair of the EMU-AAUP negotiating team.
A university spokesman has accused the faculty union of voting to “exit” students from EMU.
“It is regrettable that instead of continuing to follow the path of the mediator, while active negotiations are still underway, the teachers’ union is asking its members to stand down and disrupt the education of students only seven days after the beginning of the semester,” said Walter Kraft, vice president of the university. for communication, A declaration published after the vote on Tuesday evening.
Union leaders said the university and its faculty are far apart on several issues, but health care benefits are the main sticking point.
EMU administrators want faculty members to share more of the rising costs of providing health care to employees and families. Union leaders say the university offers a “costlier” health care plan than the current insurance coverage for members of other bargaining units on campus.
A state-appointed mediator is scheduled to sit down with both sides Wednesday morning.
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