Trustees approve three-year contract with teaching assistants

Contact: Cheryl Roland

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Acting at its July 8 meeting, the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contact with the University's Teaching Assistants Union that is effective with the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

The contract was ratified by the union membership during a June 17 vote that won a 93 percent majority approval.

Basic elements of the new contract

  • Wage increases set at 2 percent for years one and two and 3 percent for year three of the contract for graduate assistants, doctoral graduate assistants and doctoral associates who have been awarded candidacy.
  • A wage increase of 1 percent in each of the contract's three years for doctoral associates not yet awarded candidacy.
  • Elimination of a $25 lump-sum payment per semester.
  • An additional 1.5 credit hour tuition waiver starting in fall 2016 for teaching assistants with one-half appointments.
  • Health care payment restructuring to provide a $325 subsidy each fall and spring semester to all teaching assistants and elimination of the University's current contribution toward health care premiums for only those teaching assistants enrolled in the University-sponsored plan.
  • Addition of academic-year appointments to replace per-semester appointments.
  • Agreement by both parties to continue discussions on how to achieve greater flexibility in the use of tuition waiver benefits.

The approximately 500 members of the Teaching Assistants Union include assistants with appointments that range from one-half to full time, with about 75 percent of the members having full appointments. The union was first organized in 2006.

TAU's current contract with WMU expires Aug. 21. The new contract will run through Aug. 21, 2018.

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