WMU board approves new three-year contract with part-time faculty

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KALAMAZOO—Voting during a special conference-call meeting March 20, Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contract with the Professional Instructors Organization, a union representing part-time faculty members.

By unanimous vote, WMU's eight trustees approved the contract, which will go into effect Aug. 21 and run through Aug. 20, 2016. The new contract was ratified by a vote of PIO members Feb. 26. PIO and campus administrators began negotiating the new contract in November with the goal of having it completed by the end of March to allow the time to optimize academic planning.

The agreement provides for a minimum per-credit-hour rate of $800 in year one, $825 in year two, and $850 in year three of the contract. In addition, a $25 one-time lump sum payment will be made in each semester of the first contract year to some of the members, if their minimum per-credit-hour rate is below $825.

Consistent with past practice, academic departments may pay members of the union per credit hour rates that are higher than the minimum specified in the contract. Other contract adjustments include eliminating continuing pay and senior status. The compensation base increases 3.16 percent over the contract life.

The PIO represents approximately 650 part-time employees, made up of non-tenure-track instructors who teach at least three, but fewer than 10, credits per semester. The union was first organized in June 2009.