In 2012, AdjunctNation.com reported that part-time lecturers at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan were waiting up to three months for paychecks. The EMU Federation of Teachers said that the union, which welcomed part-time lecturers to its ranks for the first time in 2012, was “taking on the issue.”
In 2012 EMU President Susan Martin, who retired in 2015, apologized to the employees who’d had payroll problems, assuring them that the issue was being addressed.
“Please be assured we are meeting weekly to make sure this never happens again,” she said in 2012.
The Eastern Echo, the EMU student newspaper reported on Sept. 16 that once again part-time lecturers were protesting late paychecks.
Part-time lecturers at Eastern Michigan University rallied support at Pray-Harrold hall on Tuesday.
On Sep. 15th, part-time lecturers did not get paid, unlike tenured and tenure-track faculty, full-time lecturers, department heads, deans and EMU’s interim president and upper-level administrates. Part-time lecturers, of whom there are approximately 600, and who teach 40 percent of the credit hours on campus, will get paid on Sept. 30.
The university adopted the new pay schedule during the summer of 2014. While they get paid on a different schedule, part-time lecturers still receive their full pay for each semester they work.
“Since the university’s attitude towards this has been a little up in the air and they don’t really care, we decided to do things to get some attention,” Timothy Allen, staff organizer for the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers, said.
Allen was one of two people standing outside Pray-Harrold, calling out to students and directing them to a table set up inside.
At the table, students could spin the “Wheel of Misfortune,” where they could get a look at some of the things that might happen if employees don’t get paid in time, like not being able to buy groceries or pay electrical bills. They could also watch a “No Pay Day Puppet Show,” and speak with part-time lecturers about their experiences.
“[The part-time lecturers] are asking everyone to come out to the regents meeting on the thirteenth and say that part-time lecturers deserve to get paid,” Allen said. “We’re also asking students and other people to volunteer their time and support, making phone calls, and other such actives with us.”
The regents meeting will take place from 1:30-3 p.m., Oct. 13, on the second floor of Welch Hall.
Joe Montgomery, a part-time lecturer in the English department, started preparing for this semester this past August. He previously worked as a graduate student.
“In my particular case, I just had to pay my city property taxes, which is $2,700, that was due yesterday,” Montgomery said. “And so I don’t really have any money between now and Oct. 1, when I get my first pay check.”
He said the later pay date is putting a financial burden on him.
Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations for EMU, said the university greatly values its part-time lecturers.
“Because of the high degree of fluctuation in classes and assignments associated with the traditional last-minute rush in registrations and class changes at the start of every semester, it has been a longstanding challenge to get the part-time lecturers paid correctly and on time when their first paycheck is very close to the beginning of the semester,” Larcom said. “This challenge in timing is not unique to Eastern Michigan University.”
He said the pay schedule was undertaken to, “ensure a high degree of payment accuracy and reliability throughout the year.”