Kent State, AFSCME reach collective bargaining agreement


Members of campus union AFSCME and student organization USAS picket outside the M.A.C. Center on May 1, 2015, as President Beverly Warren is inaugurated inside. The Board of Trustees and AFSCME both accepted a report from a fact-finder Thursday, bringing a successful end to the negotiation process and preventing campus workers from potentially going on strike.

Emily Mills

Kent State and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 153 reached an agreement Thursday, preventing a potential strike from campus workers, including custodians and Dining Services employees.

Both the Board of Trustees and the union approved the report from James Mancini, a fact-finder appointed by the State Employment Relations Board. Fact-finders are hired when two negotiating parties cannot come to an agreement on their own.

The new contract will give employees a two-percent pay raise over the next three years. In addition, a retroactive pay grade will be implemented in regards to pay from Oct. 1, 2014 to present. Those employees in pay grades one through three will receive an additional one-percent pay increase, which comes out to an additional 15 cents.

The Board of Trustees approved the report unanimously.

AFSCME regional director Robert Thompson said more than 300 people, which is roughly 80 percent of AFSCME’s local members, showed up for the vote.

He said he could not comment on the approval breakdown of the vote. Thompson also said now that the fact-finder’s report has been accepted, new language will be added to the contract.

“That could take a short time or it could take a long time,” he said. “We’ll try to get this done in the next two to three weeks at the most.”

The previous contract, representing 384 employees, including Dining Services employees and custodians, expired Sept. 30, 2014.

United Students Against Sweatshops, a campus organization that supports AFSCME, said they would support AFSCME employees if they went on strike. USAS protested several times throughout the spring semester, including after the Board of Trustees meeting in March and President Beverly Warren’s inauguration. The university filed a restraining order against the union and its supporters in April to prevent protests at graduation.

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].