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Kent Wired

The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

Kent Wired

The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2

Kent Wired

Board of Trustees approves raises and bonuses for union employees

President+Todd+Diacon+and+Chair+John+Riley+preside+over+today%E2%80%99s+special+Board+of+Trustees+meeting+called+to+approve+a+collective+bargaining+agreement+with+university+employees.

Sophie Young

President Todd Diacon and Chair John Riley preside over today’s special Board of Trustees meeting called to approve a collective bargaining agreement with university employees.

Sophie Young, Reporter

The Kent State Board of Trustees unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement today that includes raises, bonuses and more for about 375 university employees in the union.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees includes workers like custodians, grounds crew, culinary staff and maintenance workers.

“These employees keep our campus humming, they keep it safe, they keep it beautiful,” President Todd Diacon said to the board.

Employees will receive an increase in their salary each year of the agreement: 4% in year one, 3% in year two and 3% in year three. The university will also give out bonuses – $2,000 in year one and $1,000 in years two and three.

AFSCME members will now have to pay a fee for adding their spouse to their healthcare plan which will increase as the employee’s salary increases. The plan will not change otherwise.

Tiffany Murray, interim vice president for human resources, shared details for this fee for unrepresented employees in an email.

Non-union employees making $80,500 or less have a $15 fee per pay to cover their spouses with university insurance. Those making $80,500 to $150,000 pay $22.50, and employees who make over $150,000 a year pay $30.

Other provisions in the agreement include free parking for AFSCME employees in restricted areas on campus. The resolution also made non-economic changes to policies like mandatory overtime, pay during temporary layoffs, perfect attendance and lateral transfer processes.

The previous collective bargaining agreement expired Sept. 30. The union ratified the renegotiated collective bargaining agreement Oct. 18. It will be in effect retroactively from Oct. 1 until Sept. 30, 2025.

Chair John Riley and President Todd Diacon both recognized the effort and impact of AFSCME employees.

“I am sure I speak for all the board members by saying we appreciate the dedication of these employees and their significant contributions to the success of the university and especially the success of our students,” Riley said.

Diacon addressed the board after Riley, listing employees across departments he is thankful for.

“Really, you’re supporting and addressing compensation of these critical employees who are among the university’s lowest paid employees,” Diacon said.

The new agreement provides larger raises and bonuses than the previous one in 2019. In the last contract, employees got a 2.5% raise in Oct. 2019, a 0% raise in Oct. 2020 and a 1.5% raise in Oct. 2021. AFSCME member employees received a $400 bonus when the agreement was approved in 2019, and a $50 bonus for each quarter with perfect attendance.

The board called today’s special meeting to vote on the collective bargaining agreement. The Board of Trustees will return for a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Sophie Young is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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