WMU News

Board approves AFSCME contract

Oct. 31, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees Oct. 31 approved a three-year contract with Local 1668 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Terms of the contract include a 3.75 percent increase in compensation the first year and a 4 percent increase in each of the next two years. In the second and third years of the contract, dining services workers will receive part of the increase in base pay and part as an annual premium.

The new contract, which was ratified by the union Sept. 30, was made effective Aug. 12. Compensation provisions were made retroactive to July 1. AFSCME represents about 470 custodial, dining services, grounds and maintenance employees.

In other action, the board approved changes in the University's academic calendar that address certain problems with the present calendar, including that the University is sometimes closed when community events are scheduled.

In addition, the changes provide for more academic preparation time and for residence hall maintenance. The changes were worked out during informal negotiations between the University and the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors over the past several months.

Members of the union approved the changes in a vote Oct. 27 by a margin of 90 percent. They become effective with the spring session of 1998 and represent consistency and compliance with University needs through the year 2099.

The new calendar has five characteristics. It maintains the structure of two 15-week semesters and two 7-1/2-week sessions and a fall semester that opens before Labor Day whenever possible. It provides for a holiday break of three weeks between fall and winter semesters.

Spring and summer sessions are no longer separated by a period of University closure, which usually has been one week. The calendar does not alter presently scheduled holidays and remains consistent and predictable for the next century.

"These changes benefit the students, the faculty, the physical plant and the University's community relations program," said Dr. David A. Lyon, director of collective of bargaining and contract administration.

The board also authorized the administration to sell property in Van Buren County that it has received as a gift. The sale price cannot be lower than $525,000.


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