Eastern Michigan University, faculty make deal ending strike

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Striking Eastern Michigan University faculty members returned to their classrooms Monday, after their union reached an agreement with the university to end a walkout that started last week.

University and union officials announced the tentative contract agreement Sunday night following weekend negotiations, but they didn’t immediately release the details.

The university said a full class schedule would resume Monday at the Ypsilanti campus of more than 15,000 students about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Detroit, where several dozen faculty members started picketing on Wednesday. The union represents more than 500 tenured and tenure-track faculty.

The two sides had been split over salary increases and how much faculty members should pay for health care. Union leaders had argued that the school’s proposal would have saddled its members with thousands of dollars in additional costs.

Union negotiating team chairman Matt Kirkpatrick, an associate professor of English language and literature, called the agreement “an important victory.”

“We took a stand to maintain and strengthen quality education at EMU, and this agreement moves us forward,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement.

The agreement would have to be ratified by the university’s board and union members to take effect.

The university filed a lawsuit calling the strike illegal, but a judge rejected the school's request to force striking faculty back to their classrooms.