WMU News

Faculty to vote Sept. 12 on new contract

Sept. 3, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University and the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract.

"This summer's talks with faculty representatives were extremely productive, and I have to applaud the successful bargaining work of both teams in these tough economic times," said WMU President Elson S. Floyd. "They managed to work through serious issues in a way that was both creative and focused on the long-range good of the University community."

The union membership will vote on the agreement Thursday, Sept. 12. Pending the union's ratification of the agreement, the WMU Board of Trustees will vote on the new contract at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20. If approved by both sides, the new contract will be effective through Sept. 6, 2005.

Under terms of the agreement, discussions regarding faculty compensation and health care benefits for AAUP members will be reopened before the end of the first year of the contract. Floyd has announced that during the coming year, he plans to appoint a broad-based committee to undertake a campuswide study of health care issues.

Negotiators characterized the talks as "mutual gains bargaining" sessions in which both sides articulated problems and issues that needed to be addressed. The negotiators examined and clarified a number of articles and accomplished several changes to the terms of the current faculty contract. Significant changes were made in such areas as promotion and tenure, evaluation, and the status of a category of employees known as academic career specialists.

"It was wonderful to work with peers in a cordial and mutually beneficial way, " said Dr. Gary Mathews, professor of social work and president of the WMU AAUP chapter. "This is a better way of resolving the issues that are important to both sides. I'm especially pleased with several of the articles that represent real progress on issues such as distance education and recognition for faculty members who focus solely on instruction."

Rooms 209-210 of the Bernhard Center. During that meeting, union officials will present the contract in its entirety to union members and answer questions about the meaning of the changes and the negotiation process. Copies of the proposed contract will be available to AAUP chapter members in a variety of locations during the week between the general membership meeting and the ratification vote.

Floyd and Mathews lauded the work of both negotiating teams in the successful outcome of the talks. The teams were led by Attorney Thomas P. Hustoles, the University's chief negotiator; Chester B. Rogers, WMU's director of contract administration; and Robert J. Ricci, the AAUP's chief negotiator.

Media contact: Matt Kurz, 269 387-8400, matt.kurz@wmich.edu

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