Western Herald – AAUP, WMU Reach Tentative Agreement

AAUP, WMU Reach Tentative Agreement

By Hunter Maybee
Western Herald

Late Tuesday night, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) WMU Chapter and the WMU Administration negotiating teams reached a tentative agreement.

Paul Wilson, President of the WMU Chapter of the AAUP said that he will recommend this agreement to the AAUP membership Thursday during a closed door meeting. The meeting will be held in the Bernhard Center’s South Ballroom from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

While the negotiation teams have reached this agreement, the WMU Board of Trustees as well as the AAUP membership still has to ratify the agreement for it to go into effect. WMU President John Dunn has said he will recommend this agreement to the Board of Trustees.

“I hope that people will vote to approve it,” Wilson said. “The administration has made significant movement towards us.”

The AAUP states highlights of the new agreement reached by the teams. Faculty will receive a three percent salary increase across the board, along with Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities Supplement increases that the entire faculty will receive as well.

Sue Caulfield, Chair of the WMU administration negotiating team said that the supplement is “a way of recognizing the work being done as an academic.”

“The big change in health care is in the patient mental health care and substance abuse treatment co-pay,” Wilson said. “It has gone from faculty paying 20 percent to faculty paying just 10 percent of those costs. That will mean an average of $4,000 a year saved.”

Caulfield agreed. “We have managed to a middle ground on healthcare … as costs continue to rise.”
Another point in healthcare will be the loss of acupuncture coverage after the current school year. “Acupuncture isn’t a standard procedure so coverage would be higher for it,” Caulfield said.

Massage therapy remains with 12 massages a year with a maximum of $70 co-pay per visit.

While the AAUP membership will hear the proposal today, they will not be voting to ratify it yet. The AAUP hopes, that if everything goes well, to schedule a ratification vote for Sept. 22 or 23.

The WMU Board of Trustee’s will also be presented with the proposal at their meeting on Friday, but according to Caulfield, the “AAUP has to ratify the proposal first. It will be several weeks at least.”

With the heated protests by the AAUP and threats of a strike, Caulfield says that there will be no bad blood between the administration and the AAUP. “It has been a lot of hard work … it is good when we can get back to the business of teaching students.”

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