Faculty contract negotiations resume

Rachel Abbey

The university and the faculty union agreed last week to resume contract negotiations. While a formal discussion date has not been set, other agreements have been made by the two parties.

University administration and the American Association of University Professors Kent State Chapter have been negotiating the faculty’s contract since May 2004. The union has continually requested the institution of a Health Benefits Review Committee as a stipulation of the negotiations. This request has been met by the university.

The committee had its first meeting April 7. Made up of members of the faculty and personnel, the committee discusses a wide range of health care issues, said Cheryl Casper, AAUP-KSU president and economics professor. According to a press release from the AAUP-KSU, these issues include “all existing and proposed medical, dental, vision, prescription drug and life insurance benefits.”

The committee discusses trends in health care and possible health care providers for faculty, said Scott Rainone, assistant director of university media relations.

Both parties have the opportunity to nominate members to the committee, Casper said. A total of eight people make up the committee. The AAUP-KSU chooses members to represent both tenure and non-tenure track faculty.

Along with the resumption of the committee, parties agreed to withdraw charges filed to the State Employment Relations Board, Casper said. The charges dealt with unfair labor practices on both sides.

The university and the faculty union have been exchanging possible dates for negotiations to resume, Rainone said. They intend to meet this month.

However, parties will not discuss issues of health care until after the committee releases its report, which most likely will occur in May, Casper said.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].