Saturday, August 11, 2001

UC, faculty finding some common ground

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After four weeks of sparring, faculty contract negotiations at the University of Cincinnati are producing initial agreements on non-economic issues.

        UC and the faculty union, the American Association of University Professors, are trying to resolve those questions before bargaining begins on salaries and benefits.

        John Cuppoletti, the professor of physiology who heads AAUP negotiators, said Friday both sides tentatively agreed to:

        • UC changes to a table on the timing of decisions on faculty reappointments.

        • Minor AAUP changes to one of the leave policies.

        “We are reaching agreement on some things and I hope that continues,” UC spokesman Greg Hand said.

        During Friday's bargaining session, the AAUP and administration discussed, but did not resolve, mediation and arbitration procedures and minimizing conflicts of interest when faculty-administration disputes involve officials who must settle them.

        Both sides agreed to a marathon six-hour meeting Tuesday.

        “Our goal is to have a contract to send out by Aug. 31,” Dr. Cuppoletti said.

        The current contract expires that day but faculty members are expected to be in their classrooms even if negotiations are incomplete when school opens Sept. 20.

        Mr. Hand said it is common practice for negotiations to stretch past the contract expiration date.

        AAUP represents the 1,990 full-time faculty members on UC's five campuses.

        AAUP wants a 5 percent increase across the board in the coming academic year and 1.5 percent plus the rate of inflation for the Cincinnati area during the remaining two years of the contract.

        The union also wants catch-up raises for veteran professors whose newer colleagues are being hired at or above their salaries because of changes in the job market and higher minimums.

        Whether UC can afford any of these raises is central to the negotiations. The administration says the legislature's failure to appropriate additional money erodes its ability to raise salaries. AAUP says UC could tap other funds if it rejiggered its priorities.

       Emily Biuso contributed to this report.


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