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Negotiation Updates - June 5, 2014

Dear Campus Colleagues:

We're into June, and we now have several sessions under our belts. One of our goals, as a team, is to ensure that the language of the contract be succinct and unambiguous. Our desire is to simplify and streamline the language so it provides a clear and easy-to-follow set of guidelines that are less subject to misinterpretation.

We've offered a short preamble that very clearly sets forth the history and purpose of the contract. To assist in clearly understood language, attention has been paid to the definitions used throughout the contract. Dialogue has focused on definitions for such terms as "Western" and "the Chapter", as well as “Administration” and the “Board” that have long been part of the contract language and the history of WMU.

The conversations have indeed been lively and cordial, and the University's negotiating team is eager to get to additional substantive issues that need to be addressed in the new contract. The WMU Bargaining Team has submitted a number of proposals at the bargaining table that have been primarily focused on clarifying, updating, and/or simplifying the procedures covered in the WMU-AAUP Agreement. In addition to our proposal for the Preamble, other articles for which we have offered proposals include are Article 9, Agency Shop; Article 12, Grievance Procedures; Article 38, University Calendar; and Article 42, Workload.

Of unique interest to this year’s negotiation is the need to address Michigan’s Right to Work law. That change to state law is addressed in our proposed new language for Article 9 covering union membership and the payment of dues and fees.

Since the first WMU-AAUP Agreement in 1976, payment of Chapter dues and/or fees has been a mandatory condition of employment for all board-appointed faculty. With the passage by the Michigan Legislature of the “Right to Work” law, this requirement has now been lifted. This means that on September 7, 2014 each board-appointed faculty member at WMU will have to choose whether or not to become a dues-paying member of the WMU-AAUP.

It is important to note that, regardless of which choice faculty members may make, they will continue to be represented by the WMU-AAUP as their bargaining agent. The law includes language to protect faculty members from any discrimination and/or harassment from Western or the Chapter and/or their employees, regardless of the choices a faculty member makes.

These are important issues that need and deserve long and thoughtful conversation between the two bargaining teams. So far there have been several good discussions with the WMU-AAUP team, and we are ready to continue the conversation.

  • Nancy Mansberger, Director of Academic Collective Bargaining and Contract Administration
  • Jonathan Bush, Chair, English
  • Steven Butt, Chair, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Daniel Guyette, Dean, College of Fine Arts
  • Kay Palan, Dean, Haworth College of Business
  • Jan Van Der Kley, Vice President of Business and Finance