Cincinnati State trustees ratify new contract with faculty

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati State Board of Trustees has ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the union representing about 200 full-time faculty members.

The unanimous vote came during a special meeting on Thursday morning. It follows a 136-15 vote Wednesday by the Cincinnati State chapter of the American Association of University Professors to approve the agreement, which will govern wages, benefits and a variety of labor/management relationships for the next three years.

"Today represents the ability of the whole College to move forward and focus our energies on our most precious asset – our students,'' said Cathy Crain, chair of the Cincinnati State Board of Trustees.

The agreement is based largely on a fact-finder's report that had been accepted by the board of trustees on Sept. 14 but overwhelmingly rejected by AAUP members, who subsequently went on strike for one week before returning to work Sept. 30 under terms of the old contract.

The contract approved this week calls for no pay raise the first year of the contract, with a 2.75 percent  increase in base pay in the second and third years. It also increases the share of health care premiums borne by faculty members by 2 percent effective Jan. 1, 2013.

One of the major issues in the negotiations involved faculty workload when Cincinnati State converts next year from its current academic calendar, which features five 10-week terms, to a semester-based system that is aligned with other colleges and universities in Ohio.  The new contract accepts the fact-finder's recommendation that the workload be set at 36 units, about the midpoint between the 41 units the administration had originally sought and the 30 units the AAUP had originally proposed.

James Lawrence, an attorney who represented the College in the negotiations, said the final agreement that was approved by the AAUP and the Cincinnati State trustees this week includes three clarifications to the fact-finders report:

  • Language that preserves a defined but limited role for faculty members in the selection of candidates for certain academic administrator positions.
  • Language that defines what constitutes the180 work days required for teaching faculty. In the second and third years of the contract, after the switch to semesters, the contract allocates the equivalent of 150 work days for classroom instruction, 5 for class preparation and grading, 7 for in-service and convocation, 8 for office hours, and 10 for service projects.
  • Language that guarantees teaching faculty a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks off if they request it.

Implementing the fact-finder's report will cost Cincinnati State about $1.7 million over a three year period, College officials estimated.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.