Last week, the WMU-AAUP, under authorization by the Executive Committee, filed a grievance over a new policy that the administration intends to implement effective July 1, 2022. As you may have heard, the administration is planning to: a) limit preference for summer courses for academic-year faculty to six credits per year, b) only pay the summer teaching rate for the first six credits per summer for academic year faculty, and subsequently pay only the overload rate, and c) apply both of these limits by the fiscal year (e.g., treat Summer II 2022 and Summer I 2023 as part of the same year). The WMU-AAUP considers each of these changes to be a violation of the WMU/WMU-AAUP 2021-2026 Agreement, including but not limited to violations of Articles 31 and 41.
Although we are still waiting for more data to further examine, our preliminary analyses suggest that this unilateral policy change may result in up to one million dollars in compensation decreases annually. The combined decrease in salary to faculty would likely be equivalent to or in excess of half of the negotiated raise for 2021-2022, for each year that this policy is in effect. This attempt to claw back salary from faculty is simply unacceptable. The officers of the WMU-AAUP, with the support of legal counsel, are prepared to take any and all legal actions necessary to have this policy rescinded, beginning with the grievance filed today.
We have already heard from some faculty who indicated that they are either reconsidering or have already changed their course requests for Summer II 2022 as a result of this policy because teaching in Summer II this year might affect preference and/or salary in Summer I 2023. Although we are not in a position to advise faculty to take or not take any specific actions regarding course requests, we do want to make sure that you are advised that this policy is in dispute. Academic-year faculty should consider this dispute, along with other personal and professional factors, as they make decisions for summer teaching opportunities.
We will keep the faculty updated on all significant developments as this case moves forward. In you have concerns or questions about this new policy or our response to it, please reach out at any time. Grievance Officer Eric Archer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Vice President Whitney DeCamp (email@example.com) are the primary points of contact for this issue, though faculty are, of course, welcome to contact any officer, staff, and/or representative with any questions or comments.