Negotiating in a Difficult Economic Environment


“[I]t may be surprising to learn that faculty salaries are not a major component of the total costs at most universities.  For instance, at my institution, Eastern Michigan University, faculty salaries make up only 24 percent of total expenses.  So where is the money going?” — Howard Bunsis


Yes, these are bad economic times.  However, most universities are doing quite well financially, due to increases in enrollment.  Develop a communication strategy for negotiations that focus on:

  • Importance of quality education
  • Having universities commit to the core academic mission
  • Thorough analysis of actual financial statements
  • Student support

Rely on each other for support.

Howard Bunsis is Professor of Accounting at Eastern Michigan University, Chair of the Collective Bargaining Congress of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and Treasurer of AAUP.  See, also, Howard Bunsis, “Why Faculties Shouldn’t ‘Give Back’ During Negotiations” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 25 October 2009); “Turn It Around; Don’t Give It Away” (AAUP, August 2009); The Delta Project, Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? (2009); and Daniel Bennett, “Trends in the Higher Education Labor Force: Identifying Changes in Worker Composition and Productivity” (Center for College Affordability and Productivity, April 2009).

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