Two down, one to go — KSU up to bat

It looks like classes are still on. The much talked about strike from the Kent State chapter of the American Association of University of Professors is off. A tentative agreement still needs approved by both sides, but it appears to be a done deal for the most part. Same goes for the non-tenure track faculty.

Now the attention turns to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME. These are the people that make all the little things possible at Kent State. They are the ones you see cleaning the residence halls and plowing snow off the sidewalks in the winter. They serve food, fix the plumbing and keep the campus looking nice, among other things. All those “minor” details that make the university run.

While we understand that though the janitor at the Student Center will never earn the same salary as a faculty member or administrator, it doesn’t make their job any less important. To run any university is a team effort. Take any one part of that team out the picture, and there will be problems.

It takes a brave soul to mop up the messes college students make and still show a smile day in and day out. Think about it. Would you like to spend your mornings cleaning up the puke from the previous night’s drunken debauchery? These people deserve fair compensation. Understandably, the state of Ohio has put the university in a bind by underfunding higher education and capping tuition at 6 percent. But just try to run a university without AFSCME workers.

It’s interesting how quickly the two faculty unions settled once the word strike was thrown around.

Once again we are at a juncture where a union has choices to make and its bargaining partner isn’t budging. On Monday, AFSCME President Ray Davis commented to the Summer Kent Stater that a strike is a possibility.

One of the biggest atrocities in this whole matter is the lack of support from the other two unions. Previously, the three unions sent a joint letter to University President Carol Cartwright. They pledged to work together in the pursuit of agreements for all.

“We believe that the collaborative approach offered in the proposal will result in a favorable outcome for everyone,” the joint letter reads. “We believe that discussion generated by this proposal will result in three collective bargaining agreements ratified in a timely manner …”

That doesn’t appear to be happening anymore.

Now that the other two unions have tentative deals in place, they seem to have left AFSCME high and dry.

So much for unity.

In an Aug. 3 issue of the Stater, Davis said the three unions would team up for more than just business talk. He said they would work together on service projects.

That possibility still remains, but what about the important stuff at hand? The unions stick around for the good PR opportunities but not for tough negotiations.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.