Collective Bargaining Management Update - Jan. 17

Please take a moment to review these important updates on the current negotiations between Kent State University and the full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty members who are represented by AAUP-KSU.

We continue to bargain in good faith and have offered many proposals during the negotiation process, most of which have been rejected by AAUP-KSU. Additionally, AAUP-KSU continues to misrepresent our proposals to its membership. You may have seen recent updates that AAUP-KSU sent to its members (Bargaining Update January 2019 and Faculty Strike at Wright State University) on the first day of the semester. We believe it is our responsibility to address inaccuracies and call out concerning misstatements of fact. Please know that we will continue to report the university’s proposals, budget position, enrollment trends, and other pertinent information in a truthful and transparent manner. We strongly urge your continued support in upholding Kent State values and expectations for accurate and appropriate communications with valued members of our university community.

Will faculty raises be retroactive?

In its recent bargaining update, AAUP-KSU states: "The administration has also refused to make any standard increment raises for AY 18/19 retroactive to the beginning of the academic year."

This statement is a complete fabrication. To date, the bargaining teams have had no discussion about whether negotiated salary increments would be retroactive. Let us be clear, the parties have NOT discussed this issue at any time, and no proposals on this issue have been exchanged.[1] AAUP-KSU has never brought this issue to the bargaining table, and we find it disingenuous to proclaim that the administration has "refused to make any standard increment raises for AY18/19 retroactive to the beginning of the academic year."

Kent State is NOT Wright State.

AAUP-KSU is highlighting the pending faculty strike at Wright State University in its communications on its website and with our faculty. Make no mistake: There is no resemblance whatsoever between our respective collective bargaining conditions. Wright State professors are preparing to strike over a salary offer — 0 percent raises for three years — that is vastly different than the KSU salary proposal. By contrast, our current offer to the AAUP-KSU is:

Less than $80,000 salary: Year 1: 3% increase. Year 2: 3% increase. Year 3: 1% increase.
$80,000-$100,000 salary: Year 1: 2% increase. Year 2: 2% increase. Year 3: 1% increase.
More than $100,000: Year 1: 1% increase. Year 2: 1% increase. Year 3: 2% increase.

Consistent with collective bargaining rules and practice, the Wright State University administration did impose its "last, best final offer" on Jan. 4. But this was only after a fact finder’s report of more than 140 pages repeatedly confirmed that the WSU faculty’s bargaining positions were unreasonable and not in the best interests of Wright State’s future. It is no surprise that AAUP-KSU applauds the decision of the Wright State faculty to strike. We do, however, hope that KSU faculty members will evaluate for themselves our innovative approach to reward the greatest number of faculty with the highest proportion of resources within our budget constraints. Remember, under Kent State’s current salary proposal, 74 percent of faculty would receive annual salary increases of 2 percent or more in 2019 and 2020.

Healthcare benefits are not acceptable for faculty?

AAUP is incensed that the administration would propose that faculty accept the same 85/60 healthcare benefits plan that is the current plan for AFSCME and non-represented employees. With out-of-pocket maximums of $1,500 for singles and $3,000 for families — this benefit option, along with the high-deductible healthcare plan, is exactly the same healthcare benefit plan of two-thirds of the university’s employees, including all administrators.

The outcome of any bargaining cycle can impact the future of a university — in many ways — for a very long time. We believe that reporting the facts accurately to our constituents is vitally important, and we take this professional responsibility very seriously as we all engage in this important process. We encourage you, and all stakeholders in this process, to ask questions, look beyond the bargaining rhetoric and make informed decisions. The leadership of Kent State remains fully committed to bargaining in good faith and being truthful in our communications. We hold on to our Kent State optimism that the parties will be able to reach agreement on all issues. We will provide more updates as information becomes available.

[1] Please note that when negotiations moved from the formal process at the bargaining table to the less formal mediation process, which is conducted by a federal mediator, the parties no longer rely on the services of a transcriptionist to record the content of the sessions. Before Oct. 24, 2018, written proposals were exchanged and transcripts of the bargaining sessions were recorded. This made verification of the parties’ positions and statements easily accessible.

POSTED: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 9:15am
UPDATED: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 9:17am