KENT STATE University, union find a tentative agreement

The president of the union chapter said it's likely there will be no strike.
AKRON (AP) -- Kent State University has reached a tentative agreement with the union representing its professors, who have been working without a contract for nearly a year, the two groups said.
Friday's announcement comes after 14 months of negotiations. Members of the Kent chapter of the American Association of University Professors received ballots that would allow them to authorize a strike last week.
The proposed three-year contract, which still must be approved by the university's trustees and the union's membership, would provide a 3-percent salary increase per year and a 2-percent adjustment of last year's salary paid in a lump sum.
An agreement reached earlier this summer was rejected by union members at the beginning of the month.
Gayle Ormiston, associate provost for faculty affairs and curriculum, said the proposed contract includes changes to health care benefits, which were a sticking point during negotiations.
The agreement will require monthly premium payments for all faculty plans, although some plans did not include them in previous contracts, said Cheryl Casper, an economics professor who is president of the union chapter.
Casper said she is relieved that a strike likely has been prevented.
"I feel as if a weight has been lifted," she said. "Faculty did not want to have a strike, so I think they'll be pleased to hear about this agreement."
Casper said she expects to be busy finalizing the contract language during the next few weeks.
"Right now it feels good, but there's still lots to do," she said.
Kent State students begin classes Aug. 29.

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