Campus Connection.
November 15, 2002 Volume 18, Number 8


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Board Considers Bargaining Agreements, Domestic Partner Benefits And Rate Increases

The WIU Board of Trustees will consider two employee collective bargaining contracts, an expansion of benefits for domestic partners of employees and increases in room, board and fee rates for incoming students at Western's Friday, Nov. 15 meeting in the University Union Capitol Rooms.

The WIU Board will begin with the finance committee meeting starting at 8:30 a.m. The academic and student services committee meeting will follow and the full Board meeting will start at approximately 11:15 a.m., after committee sessions. An executive session will be held in accordance with the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. The open meeting will resume at approximately 12:30 p.m., following the executive session.

Collective bargaining agreements with local 417 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Labor Council are on the agenda. The University and AFSME reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract which calls for the same base hourly rates currently in effect for the first year of the contract. In the event funding becomes available or another employee group receives an increase the parties agree to meet and bargain. The second year of the agreement calls for an across-the-board wage increase based on the percentage appropriated for general and supplemental salary increases in FY04. There are approximately 155 employees covered by the agreement.

The FOP agreement covers approximately 20 employees in public safety positions at the University. The parties agreed to remain at the pay schedule currently in effect with the understanding that in the event funding becomes available or another employee group receives an increase, the parties agree to meet and bargain.

The Board will consider a six percent increase in residence hall room and board rates for students entering the University in Fall 2003. The double occupancy room and board rate for students entering Western in Fall 2002 is $5,062. The new rate for the same living option would be increased by $304 to $5,366 annually in Fall 2003. A 4.8 percent increase in mandatory student fees from the Fall 2002 rate of $516.45 to $541.20 is also proposed for incoming students. The room and board rates are part of the Western four-year costs guarantee to incoming students. Students who enter Western are guaranteed they will pay the same rate for tuition, fees and on-campus room and board for their four years of continuous enrollment. Additional information will be presented to the Board addressing financial risk, surveying constituents and marketing strategies for Western's costs guarantee.

The Board will hear the first reading of a change in bylaws that would include domestic partners of employees in University benefits regarding use of employee leave, educational benefits and other categories under the jurisdiction of Western's Board of Trustees. University benefits provided to employees by Board policy are separate from those employee benefits determined by the State of Illinois.

Other items on the Board agenda include first reading of a bylaws change regarding the accumulation of additional sick leave by administrative professionals, release of closed session minutes and reports from University officials.

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