Faculty union, administration clash over contract negotiations

Lauren Sasala

Faculty union and the Kent State administration have yet to agree on contract negotiations despite multiple mediation sessions.

The university administration released an update Jan. 18 criticising AAUP-KSU.

“It is our responsibility to address inaccuracies and call out concerning misstatements of facts,” the statement said.

In a Jan. 14 update from AAUP-KSU, it stated the administration “refused to make any standard increment raises for AY 18/19 retroactive to the beginning of the academic year.”

According to the administration, there has been no discussion on the salary increments being retroactive.

Deborah Smith, the chief negotiator for AAUP-KSU, responded with a statement and said the union was “surprised” to read the administration’s update.

The statement said the AAUP-KSU proposals on salary from Aug. 24, Oct. 10 and Nov. 27 have all stated: “This standard increment will be retroactive to the start of the 2018-19 academic year contract.”

Faculty union said it is unsure why the administration considered the statement false.

According to the AAUP-KSU, the administration’s proposals on salary “has had the language concerning retroactive raises crossed out.”

The administration noted the shift from a formal bargaining table process to a less formal mediation process caused the parties to no longer rely on transcriptionists to record the meetings.

The statement said before Oct. 24, 2018, the written proposals and transcripts allowed accessible verification of parties positions.

Also in the administration update, it said the proposed 85/60 healthcare benefits plan is “exactly the same healthcare benefit plan of two-thirds of the university’s employees, including all administrators.”

The administration said the AAUP was “incensed” over the proposal.

The statement released by AAUP-KSU did not include a response about healthcare benefits.

Administration commented on the strike at Wright State University, which AAUP-KSU supported, and said “there is no resemblance whatsoever between our respective collective bargaining conditions.”

If no agreement is made, faculty union may strike or accept the administration’s last contract offer.

The leadership of Kent State remains fully committed to bargaining in good faith and being truthful in our communications,” the administration’s statement said.

Another mediation session took place Jan. 23.

Lauren Sasala is the administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected].