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WMU, part-time instructors union reach agreement

April 26, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University and its Professional Instructors Organization--the PIO--have reached an agreement on an inaugural three-year contract, and the union membership ratified the terms of the agreement in an April 25 vote.

The next step in the process is for the University's Board of Trustees to approve the agreement at its June 1 meeting. If approved by the board, the contract--with some exceptions--would be effective immediately.

Highlights of the contract include a significant adjustment to the minimum total compensation package for the University's part-time instructors. That adjustment includes an increase in the minimum per-credit-hour payment, from $700 to $750, as well as a wellness payment of $20 per credit hour.

In addition, a scale was established for annual raises for those who already make between $800 and $1,000 per credit hour. As has been past practice, members of the union are able to negotiate with their academic departments for per-credit-hour pay rates that are higher than the newly established minimum.

"We're pleased that, working together, we've been able to develop a significant agreement that recognizes the contributions of this important group in our academic community," says WMU's Dr. Timothy Greene, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "This is a good solid beginning to a new labor relationship."

In addition to compensation, the new agreement covers such items as use of the University's pharmacy and health and counseling centers; discounts on tuition, events and bookstore purchases; voluntary contributions to tax-deferred annuities; parking privileges and mileage reimbursement; and emergency closing pay.

The PIO, which includes approximately 450 members, is made up of non-tenure-track instructors who teach at least three and fewer than 10 credits per semester. The union was organized as the result of a vote in June 2009. Negotiations between the PIO and the University began in September.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
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