Contract Negotiations to Start March 13; Kick-off Rally at Montague House

On Monday, February 13, our WMU-AAUP bargaining team met with the administration’s team to discuss the start date for 2017 contract negotiations and other practical and logistical topics related to the bargaining process. The two teams had previously met on January 30 to begin these discussions in response to a proposal from the administration to start negotiations earlier in the year than usual. (The first bargaining session in 2014 was on April 17.)

At the February 13 meeting, our WMU-AAUP team and the administration’s team agreed to a start date of Monday, March 13, and established a schedule of meeting dates for the remainder of the spring semester. The teams will meet for bargaining sessions every Monday afternoon from March 13 through final exam week in April (with the exception of Monday, March 6, during spring break). During the spring semester, our team is constrained to this limited schedule by their academic-year teaching, research, and service responsibilities. Beginning in Summer 1, the teams will increase the frequency and length of their meetings.

In addition to setting out their bargaining schedule for spring, the two teams also exchanged lists of contract articles that the respective sides plan to open and agreed on negotiation ground rules.

Our WMU-AAUP team is looking forward to sharing information about the contract articles and ground rules with the faculty at the chapter meeting on Thursday, February 16, and encourages all bargaining-unit members to attend. Guest speaker Howard Bunsis, professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University and chair of the national AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, will open the meeting with a presentation, “A Question of Priorities: Understanding University Finances,” at 2:30 p.m. in the Fetzer Center. The chapter meeting will immediately follow Howard’s lecture.

In consultation with the WMU-AAUP Executive Committee, our team (Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar-Cunningham, Whitney DeCamp, Bruce Ferrin, Jeremy Hierholzer, and Mike Miller) has been working to craft proposals for the articles to be discussed during the 2017 negotiation cycle. They also continue to meet with faculty and review feedback from the faculty survey sent out last week. (The survey will remain open until February 22, so please respond if you haven’t already.) The team is also looking forward to receiving additional input and feedback from the faculty at Thursday’s chapter meeting.

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

Monday, March 13, 2017, 2-3 p.m.

All bargaining-unit faculty, their families, faculty retirees, and allies are invited to Montague House for snacks and solidarity as we send off our 2017 WMU-AAUP negotiation team in style to their first bargaining session. Be there to show your support!

Montague House is located at 814 Oakland Drive. Parking is available at the Little Theater or WMU Lot 10.

Please don’t park at the medical school. They are not nice about it.