Special Edition Management Update - Oct. 1, 2014
On Sept. 11, 2014, the university’s labor negotiations team met informally with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees AFL-CIO Local 153 and Ohio Council 8 (AFSCME) to discuss the opportunity to extend the current agreement for one additional year. The university felt it would be in the best interest of all parties to offer a one-year extension and to use this extended time to fully assess strategies to continue to offer excellent, affordable healthcare for its employees.
With this in mind, the university offered AFSCME employees a 2 percent increase in salary and continuation of benefits at current levels. This offer would have extended to AFSCME employees the same salary and benefits package currently enjoyed by all eligible represented and unrepresented university employees. Under the proposed offer, contract negotiations with AFSCME would then continue in the normal course of bargaining beginning academic year 2015-2016. The AFSCME negotiation team expressly rejected this offer. AFSCME instead demanded a 5 percent increase with no changes in benefits. While the university would continue to honor its one-year extension offer, the AFSCME leadership must be willing to hold that conversation.
On Sep. 24, the negotiation teams met to discuss ground rules and set dates to begin negotiations. At that meeting, ground rules were agreed upon; the current contract was extended through Nov. 14, 2014, three (3) dates for negotiations were established. Those dates for negotiations were set for Oct. 14, Oct. 28 and Nov. 12. All negotiation meetings will begin at 4 p.m. It was also agreed that AFSCME negotiating committee members will not be paid for attendance at sessions except for those whose normal working hours occur during negotiation time.
On Sept. 28, AFSCME held a meeting to consider a strike vote. According to an AFSCME representative, a vote to strike was approved. In the university’s view, it is unfortunate that a strike vote has been taken even before the university and the AFSCME have exchanged proposals or started negotiations. In the event that AFSCME engages in a strike, the university has a strike plan in place to ensure that the day-to-day operations of the university continue.
During the contract extension through Nov. 14, 2014, the university will maintain the status quo as set forth in the current agreement. This means, among other things, that AFSCME employees will not be eligible for any interim raises or pay increases.
Despite AFSCME affirming a strike vote, we remain committed to a civil and productive discussion of proposals at the agreed-upon negotiation dates. The university’s labor negotiations team will continue to provide regular updates to managers.