Special Edition Management Update - Dec. 16, 2011
This special edition of Management Update provides information for managers and department heads on negotiations between Kent State University and the Kent State chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
AFSCME Informational Picketing
AFSCME has filed notice with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) to conduct informational picketing on the Kent Campus during fall Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 17. Commencement is held at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC).
Members of AFSCME Local 153 have the right to engage in informational picketing, and this is not a strike. Typically with informational picketing, union employees carry signs and distribute informational leaflets, asking for public support for the union’s position. Union members who picket must do so on nonworking or nonshift times (times when the employee is not normally scheduled to work).
On Dec. 14, the Portage County Common Pleas Court issued a temporary restraining order that places restrictions on the AFSCME picketing. The temporary restraining order was requested by the university to ensure that the commencement ceremonies are not disrupted for the graduates, their family and friends.
Under the temporary restraining order, AFSCME picketers may not:
- Have more than four individuals at any entrance or exit to a university building;
- Stand within 300 feet of the MACC;
- Block access to the MACC or prevent anyone from entering or leaving the premises; or
- Engage in any acts of physical violence, harassment, verbal insults, abuse or intimidation toward anyone attending the commencement ceremonies.
Managers of AFSCME employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Relations office at 330-672-4636 with any questions about the informational picketing.
Contract negotiations continue between the university and AFSCME, and a federal mediator has been called in at the request of both parties. The latest mediation session was held on Dec. 14. No agreement was reached, and the union has declined to mediate further. The parties will begin fact finding on Jan. 23, 2012.
Response to Employee Questions
There have been some inquiries from managers and department heads about picketing and other issues related to union employees in the event of a strike. Human Resources has prepared some FAQs to help you respond to those questions. Please take some time to read the information online.
Please Note: The FAQs are provided for information purposes only; AFSCME has not indicated any intent to strike. Any intent to strike would have to be filed with SERB 10 days in advance of any work stoppage. In the event of a strike, Human Resources has contingency plans in place to ensure there is no disruption of service to faculty, staff or students.
Questions should be directed to the Employee Relations Office at the phone number listed above.