Oakland University faculty could strike if deal is not reached by midnight deadline

Contract previously extended in 2020 due to COVID

Oakland University faculty could strike if deal is not reached on new contract by midnight deadline

ROCHESTER, Mich. – With hours away from classes starting at Oakland University, faculty and administration cannot hammer out a new contract Wednesday night.

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 is it.

Thursday, Sept. 2 update: Oakland University: Classes continue amid threat of faculty strike; negotiations ongoing

Michael Latcha, an associate professor for engineering and computer science, said 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.

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

“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.

That led to the faculty authorizing a strike last week. As public employees, they cannot legally strike, so they do not call it that.

“We will perhaps withhold our services,” Latcha said.

It’s a frightening possibility for the faculty members who were looking forward to seeing their students Thursday.

“We, the faculty, is not looking for the moon in the stars. In fact, we’re not even looking for to make up ground that we’ve lost in contracts, asked, we’re looking for, looking for a fair and equitable contract,” Latcha said.

About the Author:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.