Equity update and WMU-AAUP communications

Since Monday, September 10, emails from the WMU-AAUP to the faculty (i.e., mass emails sent from our wmuaaup account) have been blocked by the WMU server from delivery to wmich addresses.

The first blocked email we are aware of was one we sent on Monday morning, September 9, and again on Tuesday, September 10, with the subject line “Sept 10 paychecks and gender equity adjustments.” It was a reminder that the one percent increase faculty would start seeing in our September 10 paychecks was an across-the-board increase negotiated in 2011 and not an equity adjustment. That message was also posted to the Chapter blog and is linked here.

The block remained in place all last week and still remains, although it was supposed to have been corrected by late Wednesday, September 11, or early Thursday, September 12, and we were in fact told by WMU email tech support last week that they believed it was fixed. However, we discovered on Friday, September 13, that the block was still in place when we attempted to send out a subsequent equity update. What you are reading now is the message we attempted to send to the faculty on Monday, September 16, which was also blocked.

Because of these issues, and because we have no way to predict or prevent their possible recurrence, we encourage you to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar on home page), join the WMU-AAUP Facebook page, and/or follow the WMU-AAUP on Twitter so that you will receive important information without delay.

Now, about equity:

As some of you may have seen last Friday, September 13, on the  blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account, or as you may have heard from your Association Council representative (i.e., department rep), I got an equity update later in the week, although the email I sent out to the faculty on Friday to disseminate that information was, as I’ve already mentioned, also blocked.

The gist of last Friday’s update is that no one got an equity adjustment in their September 10 paycheck because the process has been delayed on the administration’s end. I have no idea how long a delay we are looking at, but I have the impression that, unfortunately, we are not likely to see a quick resolution.

Of course the administration should have communicated this to the faculty (along with an explanation) in advance of the first Fall 2013 paychecks, rather than just leaving everyone wondering, not to mention leaving a lot of significantly underpaid colleagues devastated when they saw no adjustment in their September 10 paychecks and believed they’d been passed over. The good news in all this is that there is still hope for these colleagues, but I wish they could have been spared the unnecessary hurt in the meantime.

There’s more about all this here, although not much more, unfortunately, because we still don’t know very much. So I really hope the next thing we hear about equity comes directly from the administration to the faculty. Our colleagues will be understandably disappointed when they hear about the latest delay, especially after all the delays and problems we’ve already experienced in this process, which began with a negotiated agreement in 2008 to conduct an equity study in order to determine the scope of the problem. It continued in 2011, when we negotiated an agreement that requires the administration to take action during the 2011-14 contract period on the significant salary disparities documented in the studies.

It’s also disappointing that the administration does not seem to have made it a priority to inform the faculty — which they ought to have done before the first fall paychecks were issued — about what appears to be a significant change in its plans for correcting long-standing salary inequities experienced by many members of the faculty.

I wrote to Provost Greene on Sunday, September 8, to ask him for information about what we should expect on September 10 and to reiterate a point I had made to him several months ago, which is that the faculty needs (and deserves) information from the administration about how their individual cases have been decided. I also informed him that I would be contacting the faculty on September 9 to remind them about the one percent ATB so that there would be no confusion.

Now, over a week after our first payday, the faculty still has heard nothing from the administration. A lot of people on this campus have not been paid fairly; that has been unequivocally documented in the studies. We have a signed Letter of Agreement from the 2011 negotiations that requires them to take action to correct those inequities. Many of our colleagues have been waiting a long time for redress, and they deserve an explanation for why they must now wait even longer. I wish I had one to give you.

In other news, the WMU-AAUP will host Angela Hewitt from the national AAUP at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 20, in rooms 105-107 of the Bernhard Center (immediately following the Association Council meeting). She will help us build faculty engagement for a successful contract campaign. All bargaining-unit members are invited to attend, and I hope to see a lot of you there. We have a very tough negotiation coming up, and we are going to need to be organized and ready for it. Angela is coming here to help us with that, but faculty support campus-wide is going to be the key. Please join us if you can.

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