Employees’ union agrees to contract

Staff report

Kent State and members of a union representing employees in the areas of food service, housekeeping, Parking Services, building and grounds, among others, came to an agreement Thursday.

According to a university press release, the union, Local 153 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, voted overwhelmingly to accept a fact-finder’s report on the fairness of the offer.

The three-year contract includes a 3 percent salary increase in each year, no increase in the cost of health benefits during the first year and a 2 percent increase in health benefits costs in the final two years.

In addition, the contract includes a fair share payment by non-AFSCME members, meaning that when an employee is hired, he or she will either have to pay a fair share fee or become a member of the union.

The fact-finder’s report noted that while some of the job classifications may be behind those at other public universities in Ohio, today’s economic climate is not fit to make up for those differences.

“The university recognizes and values the significant contribution its AFSCME employees make to the operation of the campus and to the well-being, safety and comfort of our students, faculty and staff,” Willis Walker, vice president for Human Resources, said in the press release. “To come to agreement on a new contract during the current economic situation demonstrates the willingness on both sides to work together to continue effective operations.”

AFSCME represents 376 employees on the Kent Campus.

– Staff report