Letter to the Faculty: We Have a Tentative Agreement

Dear colleagues:

Last night at midnight, the two bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement on the 2014-17 contract. The WMU-AAUP Executive Committee was convened at that time and voted to bring the tentative agreement to the board-appointed faculty for a ratification vote.

Early next week, we will provide the details of the tentative agreement as well as information about the ratification process. All dues-paying members of the WMU-AAUP are entitled to participate in the ratification vote.

As in all negotiations, we did not get everything we want. However, we did get quite a lot of what we want, including a solid compensation package and a workload policy that recognizes that while teaching is of course central to our work as professors, there is also a lot more to what we do than that.

That we ultimately prevailed on these two critical issues – compensation and workload – in addition to strengthening faculty rights to due process and shared governance, is a testament to the strength and perseverance of our team and to the steadfast support of the faculty.

There is no question but that the faculty’s thoughtful, passionate, and courageous participation in the contract campaign, especially the strong showing at yesterday’s chapter meeting and subsequent demonstration at Bronco Bash and Seibert, was instrumental in turning the tide. I can’t thank you enough for that.

Last night, as the midnight deadline approached, I had the opportunity to observe the members of our team at what had to be among the most stressful and difficult moments in the entire negotiation. As you can probably imagine, tensions can run very high under these circumstance. And yet our team’s presence of mind, grace, professionalism, and courage were as much in evidence last night as they have been throughout this process. We could not have asked for a stronger, more thoughtful, or better prepared team. Next time you see Cynthia, Bilinda, Tom, and Onaiwu, you should probably buy them a drink (or two).

We are looking forward to sharing the full details of the tentative agreement with you next week. For now, though, we want to get the word out to you right away that we have a tentative agreement, that it is a pretty damn good one, and that we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you.

#StrongerTogether, indeed.

In solidarity and friendship, and with much respect and gratitude,

Lisa C. Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP
Associate Professor of English
and Gender & Women’s Studies
Western Michigan University