On Monday, January 30, our WMU-AAUP bargaining team met with the administration’s team to discuss a proposal from the administration to begin 2017 contract negotiations earlier in the year than usual. (The first bargaining session in 2014 was on April 17.)
The administration’s initial request, made informally in December 2016, was to begin negotiating on January 9, 2017. However, this was a nonstarter for our team, who wanted to begin the spring semester by focusing on meeting their new classes. Our team, appointed in December, also wanted more time than would have been feasible with a January start date to build experience working together and to prepare for the bargaining process. Finally, they also felt strongly that they could not go to the bargaining table without having invested the necessary time in meeting with faculty to discuss negotiation priorities.
After consulting with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, our team (Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, Whitney DeCamp, Bruce Ferrin, Jeremy Hierholzer, and Mike Miller) declined the administration’s request to start bargaining in January but agreed to hear their proposal to start later this semester but potentially earlier than in 2014.
At the January 30 meeting, the two sides did not reach an agreement on a start date, although both sides agreed that there may be value in exploring the possibility of an early start.
The two teams have arranged to meet again on February 13 for further consideration and look forward to having more to report to the faculty at the special chapter meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 16.
In the meantime, Cynthia, Whitney, Bruce, Jeremy, and Mike have been hard at work preparing for negotiations and attending department meetings to discuss faculty priorities. To schedule a meeting in your department with members of the bargaining team, contact your WMU-AAUP Association Council representative, call us at the chapter office at 345-0151, or email email@example.com.