What's Really Happening - 2005/05/04



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of May 4, 2005


Negotiations on CSEA's second contract began April 21. Negotiating teams will met each Thursday and Friday. The first two days of talks involved setting ground rules and reaching agreement as to what articles in the current contract would be opened for discussion. CSEA and administration representatives agreed not to open 10 articles and reached tentative agreement on minor changes in three others. Several elements of the first contract are no longer pertinent and are likely to be deleted from the next contract.

CSEA has submitted 20 proposals to modify existing articles in the contract or to improve other aspects of faculty activity. Based on feedback from meetings, conversations and faculty surveys, the proposals include refinements of workload, reasonable reassigned time for Association officers, improved seniority rights, and greater faculty participation in hiring, scheduling of classroom assignments, and decision making. Proposals on intellectual property and distance learning will be submitted at this Thursday's discussions. Administration representatives have also submitted several proposals.

Proposals related to compensation and benefits will be exchanged in a few weeks. Although the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) is a financial issue and therefore will be discussed as part of bargaining, CSEA supports the offer in principle. Due to how State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) computes years of service, we would like to see a slightly longer period of time for faculty to be eligible.


Faculty have been widely discussing concerns about information distributed by the administration suggesting that the coming year's insurance costs will increase substantially. Human Resources has sponsored several forums to present information about options being considered by both the administration and the College Health Care Committee, whose work is covered under Article 11 of the contract. It is clear that the administration intends to attempt to shift health care costs to employees, and CSEA anticipates difficult negotiations around the issue.

In at least one meeting, an HR representative, facing critical questions from staff and faculty, framed the problem as, "You can have your raises or have increased health care costs [paid for by the College]." Although these are clearly not the only options, discussions around health care issues-including what the College is actively doing to influence the elected officials who have the power to reform health care nationally-will have to factor in the extent to which increased costs will be offset by improvements in salary or other aspects of faculty working conditions and processes.


One little-known clause in the President's contract during her first six years at the College was a provision for what was essentially a salary schedule. That is, in addition to her annual salary increases, there was an additional $5,000 a year included in the compensation package.

If "salary schedule" sounds familiar, that's because it has been a CSEA goal since you elected the union as your representative in dealings with the administration on issues that concern all faculty. Although our initial Agreement resulted in improvements that now allow faculty salaries to increase with each year in rank, during negotiations administrators stated their opposition to a salary schedule for faculty as a matter of principle. Apparently, principles vary depending on who benefits from their application.

Of particular interest is that the administration made a point of noting-in a press release, no less-that the President donated her entire raise this year to a scholarship fund. This is an admirable gesture by anyone, and we commend the generosity it displays. However, the Board also saw fit to increase the President's monthly housing allowance by 75%. Many college presidents receive housing allowances, especially when they use their own homes for entertaining or otherwise sharing the residence for College-related activities. To our knowledge, however, most College functions are held on campus or at the New Albany Country Club, where the College maintains a membership.

With enrollments declining and staff and administrative positions going unfilled to cut costs, the Board raised the President's monthly housing allowance from $1,000 to $1,750-an annual increase of $8,000, or an additional raise of over 4%, on top of the 4% raise donated to the Development Foundation.

This action sadly reflects the "What, me worry?" attitude of corporate boards in business, which over the past decade have regularly extended lavish compensation and benefits packages to CEO's even as sales dropped and employees were forced to accept cuts in hours, wages, and benefits. We believe this suggests a lack of understanding-or caring-about the impact such actions have on the morale of all employees.


Since we're in negotiations, we hope that all CSEA members will wear their CSEA golf shirts to In-Service Day. Wear them with pride to support the bargaining team!

What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124

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