The Eastern Washington University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement Friday with the school’s faculty.
EWU becomes the first four-year college in the state to enter a contract with its faculty. The 7-0 vote follows months of talks.
Mike Ormsby, chairman of the board, said the contract lays out what he calls a game plan for improving the quality of education at EWU.
“What we are trying to do is resolve common problems,” Ormsby said. “When you think about it, our goals are the same.”
Trustee Jack Geraghty said the agreement was reached in a spirit of shared governance at the university.
“Obviously, we are very pleased,” said Sally Winkle, president of the United Faculty of Eastern.
“We feel we have a good institution and we can make it better.”
She said members of the UFE believe an adversarial relationship with the administration would be counterproductive.
“We are very satisfied with the results of the collaborative bargaining process,” she said.
UFE members approved the contract in a vote last month. More than 100 of the 418 full-time faculty at Eastern are members of UFE.
State law does not specifically authorize collective bargaining by university professors, but it doesn’t prohibit it either.
The contract deals mainly with working conditions such as department operations, promotions, a grievance procedure and spending for libraries and research.
It does not call for a general salary increases, but leaves that to the Legislature, which is considering an across-the-board raise of up to 5 percent.
However, the contract sets minimum salaries for faculty. Assistant professors would earn a minimum of $32,000; associate professors, $36,000, and full professors, $40,000.
That is part of an overall plan to balance pay levels among the diverse faculty.
Faculty members would be eligible for up to $900 a year each for training or equipment to improve their teaching or research efforts.
An appendix to the contract calls for improvements to help students get through college in four years.
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