The union that represents part-time Western Michigan University instructors says university trustees should stand up to what it calls political "bullying" in Lansing. Union members packed Wednesday's meeting of Western's Board of Trustees to drive the point home.
The Part-Time Instructors Organization says it negotiated a tentative agreement on a new three-year agreement last week. And the union expected university board members to approve it well ahead of the date Michigan's new "Right to Work" law takes effect late next month. But the contract did not appear on the Board's agenda Wednesday, February 27th. Republican state lawmakers have said that universities that approve contracts before "Right to Work" takes effect could lose millions of dollars in extra funding. However, state House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) told MLive Tuesday that only applies to contract extensions, not new contracts. Western President John Dunn says he'll seek "clarity" on that in Lansing before deciding what to do about the proposed deal with the PIO.
Dunn says Western will not agree to a nine-year contract extension sought by the American Association of University Professors. It represents the university’s full-time faculty. The AAUP said last month it wants to extend its current contract with Western until 2023 to postpone the effects of the “Right to Work” law. Among other things, it bans mandatory union dues. Dunn says the legislature’s message on the issue is clear and that means no extensions.