Student groups confront President Warren about labor union negotiations

Screenshot from TV2 video

Screenshot from TV2 video

Jimmy Miller

Various groups of the Kent State student body and a dining services employee followed President Beverly Warren from the Student Center to her office in the library on Wednesday, asking for her support for labor union negotiations and fair wages for Kent State workers.

George Lemons Jr., a campus dining services worker, led students from Kent State’s United Students Against Sweatshops, the College Democrat, the Socialist Collective, the university’s Ohio Student Association to confront Warren in the first-floor Student Center stairwell as she left to go to the Board of Trustee’s meeting in the second floor of the library.

Students asked Warren to give her support for Kent State’s branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a national public services employees union at Kent State.

The students followed Warren to the her office in the second floor library, where Warren said she could not legally support the organization when the university is in contract negotiations.

Andrew Keiper, sophomore journalism major and marketing director for the United Students Against Sweatshops, said Warren would not offer any comment on if she supports their call for a wage hike and will not do so until union negotiations have concluded.

“She verbally said that she supports the workers, but she did not come out and say she would have a meeting with students or…would make a public statement standing behind the workers in their contract negotiations,” Keiper said.

Campus workers and the union are willing to go on strike if they view the negotiations are unjust. As it stands, the administration is offering a two percent wage increase as well as an increase in health insurance co-pays. However, Keiper said the administration’s efforts are not enough.

“(The administration) hasn’t budged at all,” Keiper said. “They’re offering a two percent

increase over two years, which is barely keeping up with the rate of inflation. Unless the administration moves in favor of the workers, then they’re prepared to strike.”

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].