April 25, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees ratified a contract extension April 20 with the University's power plant employees.
The board approved the one-year agreement with the Michigan State Employees Association. A tentative contract between the University and the MSEA was reached March 31, when the parties agreed to a 3 percent across-the-board salary increase retroactive to November 5, 1999, the expiration date of the previous contract. Under the agreement, MSEA employees also will receive a lump sum bonus equal to 1 percent of earnings for the previous year.
A key component in the contract is a commitment to develop a plan for downsizing and restructuring power plant operations without layoffs.
In other action, trustees authorized the issuance of general revenue bonds to finance a number of upcoming capital projects. The proceeds of the bond issue, expected to generate up to $85 million, will fund the following projects: the Business Technology and Research Park and engineering college; the paper and printing science teaching and research facility; family housing for students; and a chiller on South Campus. A portion of the bond proceeds also will be used to retire the 1996 General Revenue Note.
The board also authorized the University administration to pursue Probate Court amendment of four charitable remainder trusts which name WMU as the remainder beneficiary.
Income derived from each trust currently is paid to the donors or their designees, upon whose death the balance of the trust will be paid to the University. The proposed changes, recently authorized by the Internal Revenue Service, will modify the trusts from net income unitrusts, in which the beneficiary annually receives the lesser of the income of the trust or a fixed percent of the trust assets, to fixed percentage unitrusts, in which the beneficiary annually receives a fixed percentage of the trust's assets. The trust amendments will help ensure a dependable income stream for the beneficiary. Approval is required from the Probate Court, the Michigan Attorney General, the University, the donors and the income beneficiaries (or their guardians).
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