ANN ARBOR, Mich. (FOX 2) - Striking graduate students at the University of Michigan have reached a tentative agreement with the school for annual salary increases, $1,000 bonuses, and an expansion of gender-affirming benefits.
The last, best, and final offer was presented to union leaders on Aug. 20 and was signed on Aug. 22. It will need to be ratified by members of the Graduate Employees' Organization union by Aug. 24, just days before school starts.
The union which represents almost 2,300 employees had threatened to continue strike after the start of fall semester classes. The school said it was "extremely pleased" to reach an agreement with the GEO.
"We look forward to learning the outcome of the contract ratification vote later this week and a smooth start to the academic year next week," said Kim Broekhuizen, a spokesperson for the university.
Labor negotiations lasted nine months and yielded several provisions for the workers. They include annual salary increases for all three campuses:
- Ann Arbor: Increases of 8% in 2023, 6% in 2024 and 6% in 2025 for campus employees (20% over three years)
- Dearborn: Increases of 3.5% for campus employees (10.5% over three years)
- Flint: Increases of about 9% for campus employees to align its minimum stipend to that of UM-Dearborn at the end of the contract term
Other provisions include 12 weeks of paid leave for parents, lower out-of-pocket costs, and the conferences between union leaders and school officials to discuss gender-affirming care and disability accommodations.