Letter to faculty on gender equity

Dear colleagues:

All bargaining-unit members will see a one percent increase in their base pay, effective with the first paycheck of the Fall 2013 semester, dated September 10, 2013. Please note that this is the across-the-board increase negotiated for all bargaining-unit members in 2011. There will be an additional ATB increase in January 2014 of 1.5 percent.

I write today to bring this to your attention because many faculty members have been waiting for many months now to be notified about whether they will qualify for gender-equity adjustments, following the provost’s charge to the faculty, chairs, and deans last February to identify colleagues eligible for increases.

(You will probably recall that the WMU-AAUP leadership had serious concerns about the process for identifying eligibility. Those concerns have not been assuaged. You can read more about that here on the blog. An MLive article by Yvonne Zipp published in June contains a lot of good information about the equity process at WMU as well.)

Provost Greene has said that equity adjustments would be implemented “with the beginning of the fall academic year.” I have asked him how individual faculty members would be informed about their eligibility for an adjustment. Specifically, I asked:

Will faculty members be informed directly of the decisions made in their individual cases, and will they be informed of how those decisions were made, or will some colleagues simply start seeing a few more dollars in their paychecks beginning in September, while others won’t? In other words, will the presence or absence of an adjustment beginning in September be the way in which each faculty member will learn the outcome of her individual case? If so, will that be the extent of the information she will receive?

I have not received a response to that inquiry, and so my suggestion to all of you today is to look carefully at the stub for your September 10 paycheck. (The stub is already available on your Employee Self Service tab on GoWMU.) Your base salary appears in the upper left-hand corner, in the second box from the left, second box from the top, and is labeled “Pay Rate.” Compare that rate with the rate on your previous stub.

If you didn’t just get tenure and/or promotion, which comes with a pay increase (see Article 32.§7 of the Agreement), and the difference is greater than one percent, you might have gotten an equity adjustment. However, if the difference is not greater than one percent, I don’t know whether this means you will not receive an adjustment or whether the adjustments simply have not been made yet. I hope to have an answer to that question soon.

I wish I had better information for you now, but unfortunately, the lack of clear, direct communication from the senior administration on this topic has been complicating the process all along. However, I will continue to try to get information and to encourage the provost to communicate directly with the faculty on this and other issues of critical importance to the faculty.

In solidarity,

Lisa Cohen Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP
Associate Professor of English
and Gender & Women’s Studies
Western Michigan University
814 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008