AFSCME to picket at commencement

Amanda Garrett

Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 153 are planning to have an informational picket Saturday during Summer Commencement.

Members are planning to picket because they have not reached a collective bargaining agreement with the university, said Ray Davis, Local 153 president.

Last Tuesday, the university rejected a counter proposal from the union, said Robert L. Thompson, Sr., Ohio Council 8 regional director. Thompson is the chief negotiator for AFSCME.

“We put forth our counterproposal, and they dismissed outright what we had on the table,” he said.

Davis said he would not comment on the specifics of the proposal because the union is still involved in negotiations.

The university was scheduled to make a new proposal yesterday, and negotiations will continue tomorrow, said Vice President of Human Resources Carolyn Pizzuto.

AFSCME was scheduled to have a logistical meeting yesterday to decide when and where to hold a strike vote, Davis said. If negotiations don’t work out on Thursday, Davis expects there to be a vote on the strike.

“The strike would be at the time that students are returning to campus,” he said. “If we take 370 people out, its going to be really tough to do the custodial work, fix the boilers and make the cafeteria food.”

The basis for the negotiations is a fact finder’s report dealing with wages, insurance, vacation time, holidays, fair-share fees and office space.

The university board of trustees accepted the fact finder report at its May meeting, but the union rejected it.

The most important issues in the report are wages and insurance, Davis said. The original report called for a wage increase of 25 cents an hour the first year, 30 cents the second year and 35 cents the third year. The increases are less than the 75 cents an hour the union wanted, but more than the university offered. The university wanted to reduce the raise to a 25 cents-an-hour increase in the third year.

The insurance plan in the original report was similar to the plan that AAUP rejected earlier this year.

Contact on-campus reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].