Judge denies request by Eastern Michigan to force striking faculty return to work

A Washtenaw County Circuit Court said it would not force faculty at Eastern Michigan University who are on strike to return to work, denying a motion from the school submitted this week.

Judge Carol Kuhnke said EMU's motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the striking professors did not persuade her that irreparable injury or loss would result. 

In the same order, she requested the union representing the striking workers to show why an injunction shouldn't be ordered. A court date is scheduled for Friday morning at 9 a.m.

The Eastern Michigan University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (EMU-AAUP) welcomed the ruling. 

"The EMU Administration’s repeated unfair labor practices and harsh demands for astronomical increases in our health care costs are what caused this strike in the first place," said Mohamed El-Sayed, professor of engineering at EMU and president of EMU-AAUP. "Now that their unsupported claim for a temporary restraining order to force EMU faculty back to work has failed, it’s time to focus on good faith negotiations so we can reach a fair agreement that supports our students."

The faculty have been on strike since Wednesday when it voted to walk off the job just as the school year was beginning. 

Negotiations between the school and faculty stalled as the contract for professors expired Aug. 31.