KSU faculty members express discontent with latest proposal

Increased health-care costs prompted faculty to reject an agreement.
KENT -- Full-time, tenure-track faculty members at Kent State University voted Wednesday to reject the tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with the university.
The tentative agreement was reached June 15 after the parties had bargained for 13 months.
The American Association of University Professors KSU Council, the union's governing body, recommended rejecting the tentative agreement primarily because of provisions that would significantly increase the cost of faculty health benefits.
Union members expressed concern that their salary increase would be consumed by the increased health-care costs being passed on to bargaining unit members beginning in January 2006 and potentially accelerating in January 2007.
New provision
The proposed contract also included a provision for a "cost pass-through." This is designed to shift a disproportionate amount of any future cost increases into the portion of costs shared by faculty members.
Effective in January 2007, this provision would pass on to faculty members an additional 50 percent of any cost increase in excess of 10 percent annually.
No other university in Ohio currently has such a provision in place, the union said.
Faculty members currently have a choice of several health plans with different cost-sharing provisions. Fifty-four percent of faculty has chosen the option that does not require a monthly contribution.
With the new plans, the average faculty member would pay about $1,500 a year for family coverage -- about 2 percent to 3 percent of the average faculty member's income.
Salary adjustment
The tentative agreement also called for salary increases of 2 percent and 3 percent annually over three years. The initial 2 percent salary adjustment would have been awarded retroactively for the first year of the agreement.
The proposed salary increases would have been supplemented in the future if certain contingency provisions in the contract were met.
AAUP-KSU represents two bargaining units of about 850 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty and 250 full-time, non-tenure track faculty on KSU's eight campuses .
KSU's full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty have been working without a contract since their agreement expired Sept. 16, 2004.

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