Departments are sending out appointment letters now for 2015-2016 appointments. TAU does not receive a copy of your letter, so we need your help to enforce our contract. Here a few key problems to watch for:1. Your department should not offer you an appointment next year at a fraction lower than your current appointment. In other words, if you have a full appointment this year, your department should not offer you a fractional appointment next year. If you have a 3/4 appointment this year, your department should not offer you a lower fraction next year.

Article 9(1)(b) of our contract states that "If an Employee’s graduate appointment under the classification of teaching is renewed, there should be no reduction in the appointment type or funding level unless by mutual agreement of the Employer and Employee."  The key word in this section is "mutual." You cannot be compelled or coerced to accept a reduced appointment. Your department may ask and you may say yes, but you are not obligated to say yes. If this happens to you, please reply to this message and let us know right now.

2.  We are still negotiating our pay, benefits and working conditions with WMU, so anything in the initial appointment letters that go out this month is subject to change. For an update on negotiations or with any questions about negotiations, you can reply to this email to contact our bargaining team. We expect to complete negotiations within the next 4 to 6 weeks.

3. Your residency status in the state of Michigan should NOT affect your tuition award. Our contract guarantees all TAs a certain number of paid tuition credits each semester, depending on your funding level, and WMU may not charge non-residents for the difference between resident and non-resident tuition. If this happens to you, please reply to this email to let us know now.

4. You are entitled to use your TA tuition remission to pay for online or off-campus (EUP) courses if the courses are required for your graduate program. TAU won a grievance with the university last fall over this very issue. You should NEVER be denied tuition remission for an EUP course that is part of your approved course of study.

If you have comments, questions or concerns about your appointment letter or any other issue, please contact me at vptauaft@gmail.com.

In solidarity,
Codie Stone, Vice President

Could you use $200 for professional development? Is there a conference you'd like to attend to become a better scholar or teacher.  Do you need a little extra money to complete your research?  What about that new tool that would help you be a better teacher? Then consider applying for the TAU Professional Development Grant. The application is simple and quick and winners are chosen by random lottery. Only TAU members are eligible to apply.

See the link for more information. - http://www.tauaft.org/grant/

TAU Action 101 Flier flat Final for PRINT THIS ONEOur next big union event is on Saturday, February 21, from 1 pm to 4 pm, at the Wesley Center. Join us for Action 101 Workshop: Creating Equitable Learning and Working Environments at WMU.  Please RSVP here!
Direct action is now ubiquitous. It resonates with all of us. But what does it mean? Join us for the Action 101 Workshop: Creating Equatable Learning and Working Environments at WMU to discuss and learn about direct action. In particular, we will discuss and workshop about striking within higher education, contract negotiations, organizational tactics and strategies, and will focus on the the origins of the concept of direct action, its theoretical orientation, and its contemporary practice.

On Friday, January 30, the Organizing Committee of the Teaching Assistants Union adopted a resolution in support of Dean Alex Enyedi (see below).  After a week of active and vocal support for Dr. Enyedi, including a community-wide petition and a massive show of support at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, the Organizing Committee felt that our voices must be heard.

The resolution recognizes the capable and transparent manner Dr. Enyedi conducted himself while head of the University's largest college.  The Organizing Committee believes that the values of economic and gender equality, as well as consensus driven management, is important to the future success of Western Michigan University.

Brief Timeline of Events

  • Friday, January 16:  Word started going around that Dr. Enyedi's contract to continue as dean of CAS would not be renewed.
  • Thursday, January 22:  At the Board of Trustees meeting, over 200 people attend to show their support of Dr. Enyedi.  All three instructor union presidents (AAUP, PIO, and TAU) spoke during the public comments as well as a support staff person who was directly effected by Dr. Enyedi's attempt to raise the standard of living among support staff personnel.
  •  Wednesday, January 28:  Provost Tim Greene sends a letter to CAS faculty and staff (but not TAs) reiterating that Dr. Enyedi's removal will continue as planned.  The full letter may be read here.
  • Friday, January 30:  Dr. Enyedi was officially removed as dean.  In protest, Senior Associate Dean Cathryn Bailey and Associate Dean Ed Martini sends a letter to CAS faculty and staff indicating that "no longer feel able to continue working" in their current positions (their statement is here in full).  The AAUP holds a chapter meeting for a vote of no-confidence in Provost Greene.  The Organizing Committee of the TAU adopt a resolution in support of Dr. Enyedi.

Resolution in support of Dr. Alex Enyedi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences By the Organizing Committee of the Teaching Assistants Union AFT Local 1729 (January 30, 2015)

Whereas, while dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Alex Enyedi has proven himself a capable and transparent administrator.

Whereas, Dean Enyedi worked tirelessly to improve the economic and educational conditions in the college, including the income inequality among support staff personnel.

Whereas, Dean Enyedi increased the morale of students, staff, and faculty, in a time where the liberal arts are under frequent attack.

Whereas, the Teaching Assistants Union recognizes the importance of economic equality, administrative transparency, and believes that Dr. Alex Enyedi's continued influence is integral to the well-being of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Whereas, the Teaching Assistants Union stands in solidarity with the hundreds, if not thousands, of community members, staff, faculty, and students who have actively voiced their displeasure at Provost Greene’s decision.

Whereas, the Teaching Assistants Union recognizes that by standing with Dr. Alex Enyedi, we are also standing with the hundreds of severely underpaid support staff employees at Western Michigan University.

Therefore be it resolved,
The Organizing Committee of the Teaching Assistants Union will continue fighting for fairness and transparency and we object to President John Dunn’s action in removing Dr. Alex Enyedi as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

We will keep you informed on facebook and tauaft.org of any new developments.

In Solidarity,
Eric Denby, President

As many of you know, Provost Greene has decided not to renew Dean Enyedi's contract, essentially firing him as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Many on campus are angry with this decision.  Dean Enyedi has been a supporter of students, faculty, and staff, and has improved the working and educational environment in the college.  At last Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting, over 200 hundred people attended to show their support.  Officers of the AAUP, PIO, and TAU spoke on behalf of Enyedi's leadership and collectively called for Provost Greene to reverse his decision.  This demonstration of solidarity received both local and national media coverage.

Please consider signing the petition.  Join the nearly one thousand teachers, students, alumni, and community members and voice your support for Dean Enyedi.

Some of the reasons I support Dean Enyedi and want Provost Greene to reverse his decision include:

  • Enyedi has and is a supporter of graduate education, students, and especially teaching assistants, making him an ally to teaching assistants;
  • Enyedi has administered the college in a transparent manner;
  • Enyedi has a 91% approval rating from tenure and tenure-track faculty (based on an AAUP faculty survey);
  • Enyedi has worked tirelessly to improve the economic conditions for support staff and after being denied his request to provide them with a substantial raise to their base pay, he provided them all with a "bonus."
Additionally, the WMU chapter of the AAUP (board-appointed faculty) has begun the process to put forth a question of confidence in Provost Greene.  I suspect additional censures, no-confidence votes, and continued pressure from the community will be forthcoming.

Remember, when signing the petition please include your relationship to WMU and any comments you may have.

In Solidarity,
Eric Denby