Faculty-university negotiations continue; still no worker contract

Rachel Abbey

The State Employment Relations Board dismissed the AAUP-KSU’s motion to accept the fact-finder’s report as a ratified contract, sending contract negotiations back to the bargaining table.

Faculty members have been working without a contract for more than six months.

Contract negotiations between university administration and the Kent State chapter of the American Association of University Professors have been occurring since May 2004, and the previous contract expired in September 2004, said Cheryl Casper, AAUP-KSU president and economics professor.

Although both parties agreed to bring in the fact-finder, the university did not accept the fact-finder’s report, but the faculty union was willing to accept that report as the new contract. SERB dismissed this report as being the new contract; therefore, there is still no contract.

“I view the latest developments as positive,” Casper said.

The board is small but handles all collective bargaining disputes in the state, often causing cases to take a long time, Casper said. Since the board made a definite decision, the AAUP-KSU can move forward and examine alternate options.

This process has already begun, Casper said. The AAUP-KSU Council will meet today to discuss the board’s ruling and future action. While the meeting is not open to the public, all departments are represented within the council, Casper said.

The health review committee remains a primary concern in the bargaining process, Casper said.

“The university remains anxious to return to the bargaining table with the AAUP,” said Scott Rainone, assistant director of university media relations.

The university has requested to continue bargaining sessions with the faculty union, Rainone said, but nothing has been scheduled yet.

The AAUP-KSU still hopes to resolve the contract dispute this semester, Casper said. These negotiations have taken longer than usual. The contract in 2001 was agreed on before the previous one expired, which is the goal of negotiations.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].