After months of negotiation, the part-time instructors’ union at Western Michigan University has reached a deal on its next contract, though members still have to ratify it.
The Professional Instructors Organization said the university asked the union to cancel a rally planned for Thursday, which would have coincided with students moving back in. In exchange, PIO President Jasmine LaBine said, Western agreed to make one-time $50 payments to long-serving adjuncts. The union accepted and agreed to call off the protest.
LaBine said while a $50 payment may not sound like much, the deal could help the union eventually get better pay for adjuncts who have taught at Western for years, earning what’s known as “Instructor II” status.
“We’re confident that in 2023, when we go back to the table to renegotiate wages, that we will have something more concrete to build on that legitimizes that status,” she said.
“It was less about the dollar amount and more about getting something secured in our contract that we can build on in the future," she added.
LaBine said while wage talks will begin again in two years, the overall contract is for four years.
The PIO appeared to be nearing a deal a month ago, but LaBine said negotiations over base wages stalled. The union did not win an increase to base pay but LaBine said the university did agree to some bonus payments for instructors.
In a statement, WMU spokeswoman Paula Davis said Western was “pleased to have a tentative contract.”