Wednesday, December 19, 2001

UC, faculty break contract impasse

Concessions made; talks resume Friday

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        With a federal mediator's help, faculty contract negotiations at the University of Cincinnati have broken months of impasse.

        The American Association of University Professors dropped nine issues. UC set aside others and promised counterproposals on some remaining issues when bargaining resumes Friday.

        Chief faculty negotiator John Brackett, an associate professor of history, said Monday the bargaining team acted “to have a better chance of arriving at an acceptable agreement concerning our most important issues.”

        UC's 1,988 full-time faculty have been working without a contract since Aug. 31. A strike is set to begin at 7 a.m. Jan. 3.

        If a strike happens, UC promises to remain open as it did during weeklong walkouts in 1979 and 1993.

        The issues to be discussed later include: • A freeze on parking increases.

        • Two months severance pay for non-tenure-track clinical research faculty at the medical school.

        • UC purchase of professional liability insurance for faculty.

        • A limit on part-time faculty.

        • A freeze on policies regarding intellectual property.

        • Creation of a committee to study health-insurance problems.

        UC's negotiator, attorney Mark Stepaniak, said Tuesday that “those were not the items keeping the parties apart” nor did they go to “the core of the dispute.”

        The dispute is about pay and benefits in “historically bad economic times” for Ohio and state support for higher education.

        AAUP wants a 20-percent raise over three years. UC is offering 8 percent and says that even with higher premiums and/or co-payments, faculty will have better health benefits than other employees.

        Remaining faculty proposals include medical/dental benefits, domestic-partner benefits, limits on what may be placed in personnel files, retired faculty rights, adoption leave, sabbatical leaves for librarians equal to faculty sabbaticals, and gender equity. UC has offered counterproposals to address faculty concerns, including:

        • Changing the university's original merit-pay distribution proposal (if there is merit pay).

        • Addressing AAUP's concerns over personnel files.


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