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Two-year contract with teaching assistants approved

April 27, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Acting at their April 27 meeting, Western Michigan University trustees approved a two-year labor agreement with the University's newly established Teaching Assistants Union.

The contract is effective immediately and will run through Aug. 18, 2009. The trustees' vote on the contract made official the collective bargaining agreement ratified April 26, when 87 percent of the TAU members voting on the pact gave it their OK.

The union, which has more than 600 members, represents WMU's doctoral associates and graduate assistants who hold teaching appointments. It was established in April 2006 after a certified election, and contract talks began this past November.

Provisions of the agreement call for teaching assistants to receive a 1 percent increase to base pay, as well as a 1 percent lump-sum payment, in both years of the contract. In addition, the tuition waiver for graduate teaching assistants has been upped from four to five credit hours for fall and spring semesters. The tuition waiver of three credit hours remains unchanged for WMU's two summer sessions.

The contract's other key provision boosts the amount that the University contributes to health insurance for teaching assistants. The amount will jump from $596 to $750 in the contract's first year and to $800 in the contract's second year.

With the formation of TAU, teaching assistants are now represented by unions at all four of Michigan's major research universities--WMU, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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