Sunday, April 22, 2007

Strike Out

Looks like you still need to go to your final exams. From the Gazette:


Union says it has agreement with WMU

Members of the Teaching Assistants Union at Western Michigan University were considering some form of work stoppage if WMU did not reach an agreement with the union Friday.

But the union, representing some 650 graduate teaching assistants, and the university came to a tentative pact Friday evening, according to TAU President David Zwart.

"We're happy that we have our first contract and set the ground work for a relationship with the university as employees,'' Zwart said.

The union -- comprised of master's and doctoral students who also teach -- organized a year ago to improve what it considered inadequate pay, tuition remission and health care.

Union members claimed contract talks were stalled over financial issues, and they protested outside the administration building earlier this month.

A university official had said progress was being made in the negotiations that started in November.

On Friday, Zwart characterized the tentative agreement as the university making "meaningful movement in our direction with the current budget situation.''

"The obvious thing is that I have a big heart for the TAs. I was one myself,'' WMU's Interim President Diether Haenicke said earlier this week. "Obviously we want to do right by everybody who works for the institution.''

The next step is for union members to vote on the contract. If they vote to ratify the pact, it will go to vote before the WMU Board of Trustees.

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