By Hunter Maybee
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Western Michigan University chapter held their largest rally in three years Wednesday. Over 250 faculty members gathered outside the Siebert Administration building to call on the WMU Administration to listen to their requests.
Joetta Carr, chief negotiator for the AAUP, spoke during the rally, drawing cheers from the crowd.
“We have made progress on many issues,” Carr said. “But we are still far, far, apart on salaries … The administration acts like we are replaceable. They refuse to pay us a salary that values our work.”
During the speech, Carr directed the microphone she was speaking out of towards the administration building and said, “Western cannot function without us President Dunn.”
Carr also reiterated the AAUP’s constant demand this year for a “real salary increase.”
Friday, hours before the contract expires, the AAUP has called for an emergency meeting of its membership behind closed doors.
“We will speak candidly with our membership on the status of the negotiations and on the proposals that the administration will have put forward by then,” Paul Wilson, president of the WMU AAUP chapter said of the meeting.
“We want to ask advice from our membership,” Wilson said. “We will discuss every option we can think of. Western hasn’t had a strike since 1984.”
Wilson went on to say that while it is not unusual for negotiations to last this long, “the last time we had a demonstration this large was in 1984.”
Carr spoke about Friday afternoon’s meeting as well.
“The faculty are voting with their feet today and giving the administration a strong message [that] we are not happy,” she said.
The holding point for these negotiations has been salary. Carr called the administration’s proposals up to this point, “insulting.”
Carr also outlined what the AAUP wants.
“We are asking for a wage increase that is slightly over inflation,” she said.
Inflation rates, according to the AAUP Web site, are now at 4.6 percent per year.
“We just want to keep up,” Carr said. “We have been losing ground for about a decade.”
“We are losing faculty because other comparable institutions pay much higher than Western,” Carr said, when asked why the AAUP was so angry about the current salaries. We are the one’s to teach the students. We need more tenured faculty to better serve students.”
Carr claims that the administration has told the AAUP that WMU does not have the money.