Faculty union, administration select fact-finder for contract negotiations

Lauren Sasala

The faculty union and Kent State administration have chosen a fact-finder to try and reach an agreement over contract negotiations.

In an email sent to members of the Kent chapter for the American Association of University Professors, Deb Smith, the chief negotiator for AAUP-KSU, said Barton Bixenstine will work with both sides in creating a non-binding proposal to try and resolve the contract dispute.

AAUP-KSU requested a fact-finder on Dec. 20. 

While the most recent mediation session, held on Jan. 23, offered some progress, articles of the contract including salary, medical benefits and other benefits are left to negotiate for the new contract.

Smith said the progress was “insufficient” on behalf of the administration.

Before the fact-finding hearing occurs, both the administration and the union will submit a statement to Bixenstine. From that information, he will present a proposal for a fair settlement.

AAUP-KSU and the administration will then vote for or against the proposal.

Should both parties agree to the fact-finding report, it will serve as the basis for the new contract.

However, if the proposal is rejected by either side, the administration will then present its “last, best, final offer.”

The union must then choose to accept that contract or call a strike.

In the event of a strike, AAUP-KSU must notify the administration 10 days beforehand. Participating faculty members would not hold class or office hours. They also would not attend meetings, administer exams or post grades.

The fact-finding hearing is not scheduled yet, but Bixenstine, the union and the administration will select a date and time together.

Lauren Sasala covers administration. Contact her at [email protected].