Letter to the editor

The strength of unions will insure job benefits

Dear Editor: 

 Students are right to be concerned about the current negotiations between faculty and the administration. At stake is the quality of teaching and the reputation of the university.

The contract put forth by the administration puts Kent State on an accelerated course toward mediocrity by ensuring that strong talent will either leave the university or fail to apply.

A neutral fact-finder, hired by the university and the union, issued a contract proposal in December. The faculty approved the fact-finder’s proposal because, while it didn’t address all faculty concerns, we respected the findings of a neutral party with the best interests of students, faculty and the university in mind. The Board of Trustees, on the advice of the President, dismissed the neutral fact-finder’s report out of hand and refused to accept his recommendations for making the contract more fair.

But there is more at stake here than just an argument between administrators and faculty. You probably want employment that provides benefits when you graduate from Kent State. Without a strong organization to represent you, your health care coverage is left to the whim of the employer. More and more employers are opting to let employees bear an ever-growing percentage of health care costs. As union strength declines, so does the likelihood that your next job will include decent health care benefits. In Ohio in 2003, the number of workers who went without coverage at some point during the year was one in eight, the highest percentage since it was tracked in 1987.

The administration wants the faculty to accept one of the worst health care provisions of any public university in Ohio. What happens at Kent State will serve as a model for labor negotiations across the state. And assuming you wish a job with benefits in the future, it will also affect you.

Mark Cassell

Associate Professor

Department of Political Science