Oakland University students told to report to class as faculty strike

Negotiations between union faculty members, university administrators ongoing after Wednesday night deadline

Oakland University

ROCHESTER, Mich.Oakland University sent a message Thursday morning stating classes will resume according to the schedule despite striking faculty members.

Faculty and university administrators have been unable to agree upon a new contract. The contract was extended a year ago to get through COVID-19 and again this month for a few days, but faculty said Wednesday’s midnight deadline was it.

A university spokesman said Thursday morning that American Association of University Professors (AAUP) union members and the university will have a 10 a.m. meeting to resume negotiations. A state mediator will be present at the meeting.

Michael Latcha, an associate professor for engineering and computer science, told Local 4 the two sides have been talking since mid-May. But it was when the administration recently slashed their proposal for higher wages that things became difficult.

“It was pretty much shock because we’ve heard for the last year and a half that the administration was very appreciative of the way that we stepped up. We pivoted to online courses within four days in March of 2020. However, at the moment, they are claiming that they have this huge deficit that essentially they’re trying to put on us,” Latcha said.

Meanwhile, the university said students should still attend classes and “will be responsible for all course content and assignments delivered during and subsequent to the negotiation period.”

Here’s the full message from the university Thursday morning:

To the campus community,

University administrators and representatives of the Oakland University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors are continuing to negotiate to reach a tentative contract agreement.

The University hopes to resolve remaining contract issues as soon as possible and with minimal disruption to fall classes, which will not be canceled.

Students are advised to report to classes as scheduled and wait at least 15 minutes to determine whether their instructor will be teaching. Students may also contact their instructors in advance to determine whether classes will be taking place. Students will be responsible for all course content and assignments delivered during and subsequent to the negotiation period.

While contract talks continue, all University classes, support services, extracurricular activities and other operations will continue on their normal schedules.

The university regrets that this faculty union strike is taking place, particularly given that public sector strikes are illegal under Michigan law. The university’s negotiating team urges faculty to teach and requests that non-faculty employees urge faculty to do the same.

This message will be updated as further information becomes available.

Oakland University communications

Read: How Oakland University students are adjusting to university’s COVID vaccine mandate


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.