Happy hour Friday at Arcadia Ales

All bargaining-unit faculty are invited to the WMU-AAUP Fourth Friday Happy Hour this Friday, September 23, 5-6 pm, at Arcadia Ales.

As we plan and prepare for contract negotiations next spring, these happy hours are an opportunity to enjoy the company of faculty colleagues, build solidarity, and discuss negotiation priorities in a fun and family-friendly environment.

Dues-paying members: Your first drink’s on us. Hope to see you there!

Arcadia Ales is located at 701 E. Michigan Ave. Click here for a map.

This is the first of two Fourth Friday Happy Hours this semester. The next one is Friday, October 28, also at Arcadia.

On the agenda for Sept. 16 Association Council meeting: Does the Faculty Want a Second Health Insurance Option?

In July, President Dunn announced a second health insurance option that may be offered to WMU employees during open enrollment this fall, BCBSM’s Healthy Blue Living HMO.

We provide below an analysis of the Healthy Blue Living HMO to help faculty members make an informed decision about whether to allow the plan to be offered to the faculty along with our existing health insurance plan. (See also our summary comparison table of overall benefits here and our pharmacy benefit comparison table, linked here.)

On September 16, the WMU-AAUP Association Council will discuss whether the new plan should be offered to our members. We encourage all WMU-AAUP bargaining-unit faculty to attend this meeting.

WMU-AAUP Association Council meeting Friday, September 16, 2016
1:30 p.m. in 157 Bernhard

Special guests to help answer your questions about healthcare:

  • Lisa Marshall, Director of Sindecuse Health Center, Western Michigan University
  • ŸWil Arbogast, Director of the WMU Sports Medicine Clinic
  • ŸJim Middleton, Director of Pharmacy, Sindecuse Health Center

This meeting is open to all members of the WMU-AAUP bargaining unit.

 Quick overview: The Healthy Blue Living HMO might work for you if:

  • Getting your premium amount down is your highest priority.
  • You are confident that you and your family will not need services that are subject to the HMO’s out-of-pocket deductible payments, which could offset premium savings.
  • You like working toward wellness goals and don’t mind the HMO’s wellness plan requirements.
  • You and your family are healthy and you’re confident that you’re likely to remain so.
  • You have no dependents on your insurance and who live out of state or overseas.
  • You rarely or never travel out of state or internationally.
  • You don’t mind getting a referral from a primary care provider if you need to see a specialist.
  • No one on your insurance needs to take any nongeneric prescription drugs.
  • You don’t mind giving up access to no-copay, no-deductible providers and clinicians at the Sindecuse Health Center on campus.

Quick overview: The Healthy Blue Living HMO might NOT work for you if:

  • You and/or members of your family need nongeneric prescription medications. The copays under the HMO and loss of access to Sindecuse pharmacy discount could offset your premium savings.
  • You expect that you and/or members of your family will need to visit providers. The HMO deductible requirements could offset your premium savings.
  • You have a spouse or child on your insurance who lives out of state or overseas.
  • You travel out of state and need non-emergency care or prescription drugs while you are away.
  • You travel internationally and need non-emergency care or prescription drugs while you are away.
  • You don’t want to have to get a referral from a primary-care physician to go to a specialist.
  • You use services at Sindecuse, such as physical therapy, lab and x-ray, and other medical and clinical services and providers and want to continue to do so.

More details: Some important facts about The Healthy Blue Living HMO

  • The main advantage of the HMO: Lower premium equivalents. (See Table 1.)
  • Lower copays for office visits but only after deductible is met. The HMO offers $20 copays for Enhanced Plan, $30 for the Standard Plan, compared to $35 for our current plan. However, your deductible must be met before you’ll be eligible for these copays. (See Table 1.)
  • That means you’ll pay 100% of the bill for non-preventive medical services until your deductible is met, potentially negating any savings from lower premiums. Our current plan includes many services to which the deductible does not apply and does not require that the deductible be met before covering most office visits.
  • If you are on the employee-only plan, you’ll pay out-of-pocket for office visits and/or other care up to $400 (Enhanced Plan) or $1000 (Standard Plan) before you will be eligible for copay-only office visits. (See Table 1.)
  • If you are on the two-person or family plan, you’ll pay out-of-pocket for office visits and/or other care up to $800 (Enhanced Plan) or $2000 (Standard Plan) before you will be eligible for copay-only for office visits. (See Table 1.)
  • If you or members of your family need any nonpreventive healthcare services at all, there is a good chance that these deductible requirements will offset savings of the reduced premium.
  • The HMO provides no coverage for medical or clinical services at Sindecuse Health Center. On our current plan, we enjoy at Sindecuse with zero out-of-pocket costs. Enrollees in the HMO will be responsible for all charges for services at Sindecuse. (See Table 1.)
  • The HMO does not include a prescription drug discount at Sindecuse. HMO enrollees may use the pharmacy at Sindecuse, but prescription drug prices under that plan will not be discounted. (See Table 2.)
  • With the HMO, 90-day prescriptions will be available by mail-order only. (See Table 2.)
  • The HMO has a 5-tier prescription drug plan with high copays for for tiers 4 and 5. On our current plan, copays for tier 4 and tier 5 drugs are equivalent to those for tiers 2 and 3, respectively. On the HMO, tiers 4 and 5 are very expensive. (See Table 2.)
  • It’s an HMO. That means there is no out-of-network option and that your providers must all be part of the Michigan BCBSM network.
  • Kids live out of state? With the HMO, if you have kids up to age 26 who don’t live in Michigan but are on your insurance, they would not be covered except for emergency treatment.
  • If you travel outside Michigan: With the HMO, according to information on BCBSM’s website, “there are limits to the type of care you get that’s covered when you travel outside your plan’s network and around the U.S.” You’ll need a referral from your primary care provider and approval from BCBSM to get care except in case of emergency. Approval is required but not guaranteed, and there may still be out-of-pocket costs to you even if approved. The HMO plan “covers only a limited amount of health care services when you’re outside of your plan’s network area or outside of Michigan.”
  • If you travel internationally: BCBSM’s “How to get care while you’re traveling” page notes that with the HMO, “You’re only covered for emergency care and accidental injuries when traveling abroad.”
  • Some might find the wellness program requirements invasive or burdensome. Enrollees are “graded” on six measures: weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, tobacco use, and depression.

According to the BCBSM website, a grade of A means you meet the health target; B means you have a health condition that may not be controlled but you are actively participating in treatment to improve the condition; and C means you’re not meeting the wellness target and haven’t committed to treatment to improve your condition.

If you get any grades of C, you’ll be required to commit to a plan of action and follow through in order to remain eligible for the Enhanced Plan. You don’t actually have to lose the weight, reduce cholesterol, quit smoking, kick that depression once and for all, etc., but you do have to participate in the action plan until you achieve the desired goal.

In cases where the goal might not actually be achievable for some enrollees, you will apparently be required to follow the action plan in perpetuity to remain eligible for the lower-cost Enhanced Plan.

  • If you don’t follow your wellness plan or you don’t complete other requirements within 90 days of enrollment or re-enrollment (meaning annually), you will be switched from the Enhanced Plan to the Standard Plan, which has substantially higher out-of-pocket costs. (See Table 1.)

For more information:

What else you can do:

  • Come to the Association Council meeting on Friday, September 16, at 1:30 pm in 157 Bernhard, to participate in the conversation about whether this plan should be offered to WMU-AAUP faculty in addition to our existing plan.
  • Talk to colleagues and help keep other faculty members informed.
  • Got expertise? Share it with the faculty by speaking at the Association Council meeting or write an article for the blog.

Faculty: Please support WSA student voter registration initiative

Letter to the faculty from WMU-AAUP President Lisa Minnick:

Dear colleagues:

A fundamental goal in higher education is to prepare students for thoughtful citizenship and participation in our democratic society. A starting point for this participation is voting, yet many students are effectively disenfranchised in Michigan if they are not registered to vote in their college communities.

This year, the Western Student Association has once again launched an extensive voter registration initiative on our campus, this time under the capable leadership of WSA Political Affairs Chair Chiante’ Lymon.

Recognizing the importance of student voter registration, the WMU-AAUP has joined with student leaders to support this non-partisan, student-led initiative. Part of our role in this is to encourage you, the faculty, to talk with your students about voter registration, to remind them that they can (and should) register to vote on campus, and to invite trained student volunteers to visit your classes and get your students registered.

This is an essential initiative. Too often, students miss out on exercising their voting rights. They may believe they are registered to vote when they are not or that they are eligible to vote in Kalamazoo if they are registered in their home precincts. As faculty, we can help to clear up these misconceptions, encourage students who are uncertain about their registration status to register in Kalamazoo, and inform them about how they can do so easily, thanks to this registration project.

We ask also that you be aware of and help to address challenges that can result in student disenfranchisement. Students registered at their home addresses who plan to vote by absentee ballot may be discouraged at election time by the planning and lead time required. Additionally, at WMU and nationwide, erroneous claims that registering locally will impact their financial aid eligibility or affect their insurance coverage may discourage many students from registering on campus. We can help by informing our students that there is no truth to these often-repeated urban legends.

Finally, please consider allowing WMU students trained in voter registration to visit your classes before the October 11 deadline for the general election in November.

These visits are an effective way to reach students and to get them registered. In just a few minutes, the volunteers can provide registration forms, answer questions, and collect completed forms.

Ms. Lymon and her team have set a goal to register or re-register (for students who have moved) over 5,000 voters before the voter registration deadline of October 11, 2016. She reports that the in-class registration process takes approximately 12 minutes, including Q&A.

If you are wiling to have a student trained in voter registration visit your class between now and October 11, please email the following information to Ms. Chiante’ Lymon at wevote@wmich.edu:

Class/section name:
Faculty name:
Faculty phone:
Date(s) they can visit your class(es):
Building and room numbers of class(es):
Days and times your classes meet (beginning and end times):
Approximate number of students in your classes:

On behalf of the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, many thanks to all of you in advance for your participation in this important initiative.


Lisa C. Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP

Sign up to be part of the 2016-17 WMU-AAUP contract campaign

Our 2016-17 contract campaign starts now! Sign up to get involved.

Follow the link for the committee or team you’d like to join.
For descriptions of each team’s charge, click here.

(What’s a contract campaign? Click here.)

 Team and committee descriptions:

The Contract Campaign Team:

The Contract Campaign Team develops and carries out the overall campaign plan. The campaign team’s role is to build solidarity, plan events and actions, and turn out faculty. Team members should be flexible, able to think a few moves ahead, and ready to respond to events as they develop.

The campaign team will collaborate with the WMU-AAUP bargaining team, chapter officers, Executive Committee, Association Council, staff, and other campaign-related committees as needed, but the Contract Campaign Team will have primary accountability for running the campaign and overseeing the work of the other negotiation support committees (i.e., the Communication and Media Team, FOIA Team, and “S” Committee). Each member of the Contract Campaign Team will also act as a liaison with one of the other support committees to help coordinate activities and facilitate communication.

Click here to join the Contract Campaign Team

The Communication and Media Team:

The Communication and Media Team will work with the contract campaign team, bargaining team, chapter officers, Executive Committee, and staff to craft effective messaging to articulate the faculty’s position during negotiations and in support of the contract campaign. The Communication and Media Team will prepare negotiation updates and press releases, get information out to the faculty and to the public, organize social media campaigns, as well as advise (and potentially serve as) chapter spokespersons.

Click here to join the Communication and Media Team

The FOIA Team:

The FOIA Team drafts requests for information on behalf of the bargaining team as well as follow-ups and appeals as needed. A well-prepared bargaining team needs (and is legally entitled to) a lot of information from the administration about university finances, healthcare costs and contracts, and other information. Working closely with the bargaining team, officers, Executive Committee, and chapter staff, the FOIA team will also review data received in response to information requests and help the bargaining team make the best and most efficient use of it.

Click here to join the FOIA Team

The “S” Committee:

The “S” Committee organizes actions in support of the bargaining team. Working closely with the Contract Campaign team and with the Communication and Media team, the “S” Committee prepares a plan for labor actions that may become necessary during the course of our contract negotiations. We might not ever have to take these actions, but we will need to be prepared, and the “S” Committee must be ready to move quickly to mobilize the faculty if it does become necessary to take action.

Click here to join the “S” committee

Graphic image of WMU-AAUP 2016-17 contract campaign logo with tagline "Strength In Solidarity"


The 2016-17 WMU-AAUP Contract Campaign is On!

Our next contract negotiations won’t start until the spring or summer of 2017,
but our 2016-17 contract campaign starts now!

Since our last negotiations, in 2014, we’ve seen an uptick in infringements on faculty rights to academic freedom, due process, and participation in shared governance on campuses nationwide. In this context, and in a political and economic climate of reduced legislative support for public education, WMU faculty once again face serious challenges as we approach our 2017 contract negotiations. That is why we have been working to organize a year-long campaign of events and actions to build solidarity on campus and support for 2017 negotiations.

What is a contract campaign?

A contract campaign supports the bargaining team by engaging the faculty to build solidarity. A visible, vocal, and united faculty sends a powerful message that we are determined to stand up for academic excellence, fair compensation, and appropriate working conditions. This approach worked well for us in 2014, and with lessons learned from that campaign, we are prepared to come out even stronger this time around.

Why do we need a contract campaign?

It would be great if once we won a benefit, we could consider it permanent. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. The administration comes into every negotiation demanding concessions, and we owe our success over the years in holding them off and winning enhanced benefits to the collective action of the faculty and their visible and vocal support for our bargaining teams.

What you can do:

  • Apply to serve on the bargaining team. The call for applications is coming soon, and interviews with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee will be held in November 2016.

Serving on the bargaining team not your style? That’s OK! We have lots of opportunities to get involved, build solidarity, and cultivate leadership skills.

Click here to learn more about how you can sign up to support the bargaining team in one or more of the following ways:

  • Join the contract campaign team and develop and implement our 2017 campaign strategy. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the communication and media team and get information out to the faculty and community. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the “S” committee and organize actions in support of the bargaining team. (Sign up online now.)
  • Join the FOIA team and help draft information requests, follow-ups, and appeals. (Sign up online now.)

Want to help support the WMU-AAUP bargaining team but not sure you have time to join a support team or committee? Here are some other ways to help (and you can — you guessed it — sign up online):

  • Make signs and create other materials for rallies.
  • Help organize campaign events.
  • Talk to colleagues about the benefits of union membership and to friends and neighbors about our academic mission and the benefits our work provides to students and to the community.
  • Share your professional expertise with the bargaining team.
  • Write articles, blog posts, and letters to the editor in support of public higher education and the role of the faculty in the academic mission.
  • Come to WMU-AAUP events and encourage your colleagues to attend.
  • Watch for emails from the WMU-AAUP, subscribe to the blog (from the home page, look for the ‘subscribe’ and ‘follow’ buttons on the right-hand side of the page), join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for information about upcoming events and to make sure you never miss a call to action.

Look for sign-up sheets at WMU-AAUP meetings and events or click here to learn more and sign up online.




“They preempted a strike they did not know would happen, and they took actions all summer long to prepare for it. They “deactivated” classes—not cancelled, just bizarrely removed from the schedule—without notifying deans, chairs, or affected faculty. They posted erroneous materials on course management websites. And they placed ads for replacement workers on Monster.com while scrambling to assign Brooklyn administrators as well as those at LIU Post to teach our classes. One young staff member is assigned to teach a Master’s program class in which she is enrolled as a student.”

–Deborah Mutnick, LIU-Brooklyn


Guest blogger Deborah Mutnick is  a long-time professor at Long Island University’s Brooklyn, NY campus.

As of 12:00 a.m., Saturday, September 3, my colleagues and I were locked out of our University in the midst of contract negotiations between our faculty union and management. The letter I got from the administration told me I have “to cease performing services for the University.” Saturday morning the first thing I did—and I suspect many of my colleagues did as well—was to try my LIU email account. Locked out. The union-busting tactics we all feared have now come to pass.

The idea that faculty and students are the heart and soul of a university is in jeopardy everywhere of late, it seems, in higher education. But for the past three years, Long Island University has strayed so far from this ideal that we barely have a seat at the table anymore. The faculty…

View original post 527 more words

IUP faculty union president: Why I will strike

Thoughtful and important piece by Dr. Nadene A. L’Amoreaux, president of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania chapter of APSCUF, the statewide union of faculty members and coaches.

The HawkEye


Nadene A. L'Amoreaux, Ph.D., president of the IUP chapter of APSCUF, the statewide union of faculty members and coaches. Nadene A. L’Amoreaux, Ph.D., president of the IUP chapter of APSCUF, the statewide union of faculty members and coaches.

By Nadene A. L’Amoreaux

INDIANA – Next week, faculty members and coaches at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and our sister universities across the commonwealth will vote on whether to authorize a strike. We will vote in the face of a threat to college education in the state of Pennsylvania.

We grow increasingly discontented with a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education that has failed to implore the General Assembly to adequately fund higher education. That has allowed tuition increases across the State System to place greater financial burden on students and their families, thereby making the possibility of higher education to become further out of reach for our students.

Pennsylvania ranks third highest in the nation for student loan debt. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, funding…

View original post 870 more words