KALAMAZOO —Western Michigan University expects to save $250,000 annually from its move to subcontract campus mail, warehousing and other services to a Battle Creek company in February.

Twenty employees were displaced by the move, but offered work elsewhere within the university. The three-year, $650,000 contract with Employment Group Managed Services was accompanied by statements from university officials that further privatizations may be in the offing. WMU President Diether Haenicke said, "Cost containment and accountability are critical issues for all of us at the university."

On March 14, about 40 WMU employees, members of AFSCME Local 1668, protested privatization with pamphlets and picket signs. "I want to make sure they are exactly aware of who we are and where we’re coming from on the privatization issue," said Local 1668 President Jack Roach. "I’m going to explain to them why we don’t think it will work."