To the Regents of Eastern Michigan University, President Jim Smith, Provost Rhonda Longworth, and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Brian Pappas:
It is unfortunate to me that we find ourselves here – the university has hired an expensive union busting law firm to represent them in bargaining with our adjunct instructional unit, the administration has put together a committee - completely excluding lecturers from participation - to create a plan for opening in the fall, and your administration seems to be pushing a health and safety policy which is reactive (containment) instead of proactive. Your current plan completely fails to address the concerns of the EMU Federation of Teachers’ membership:
The current sick leave for the fall, especially among adjuncts, does not meet the needs demanded by COVID19. Adjuncts have only 3 days of sick leave, and are typically not eligible for FMLA benefits. What commitments is the University making to giving our units adequate health leave and support should they catch the virus while being required to teach on campus?
I understand that Eastern Michigan University recently has published a plan to re-open the university. This plan was not furnished to the EMU Federation of Teachers and the University has made no effort to engage with us around planning, despite our request for collaboration during a meeting in June.
This plan will likely impact our wages, hours and working conditions and we have requested again to participate in the process as a union. Reopening is a key juncture and presents safety issues that have not been seen in our lifetime. We would like to work on a collaborative and expedited basis to address conditions at the university that will be in the best interests of students, faculty, and staff. We know that you have been engaged in tactics to delay such requests to collaborate with tenured faculty. I am concerned that this tactic serves to undermine what I hope are the collective interests of all parties - having in place reasonable health and safety standards in the fall.
I hope to hear from you soon.
President Daric Thorne
Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers