What's Really Happening - 2005/09/06



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of September 6, 2005


Thanks to all faculty-CSEA members and non-members alike-whose presence and enthusiasm made the August 31-September 1 informational pickets so successful. Teachers passed out thousands of leaflets and discussed the issues with scores of students, and several students have provided CSEA with copies of the emails they sent to the CEO of the college.

Students, too, are concerned by the administration's failure to address serious problems in scheduling, registration, and financial aid that point to a significant decline in the quality of service in the past several years. Several asked picketing teachers how tuition can continue to rise as the Board piles up larger and larger operating surpluses.

This is a reasonable question, since during the 3-year term of the Board's contract with CSEA, the institution's fund balance has increased by approximately $12 million, with the total now exceeding $58 million. In addition, the financial statements that the administration presented to the Board in July 2005 showed Cash and Investments of $77 million. (CSEA's proposal made to the Fact Finder would cost only $3 million more than the Board's proposal OVER A THREE-YEAR PERIOD-albeit the College's proposal was without a salary schedule.) These increases took place during a time when the administration spent over $15 million on hardware, software and personnel costs for an inadequate computer system-one that has caused decreases in enrollment and much student and employee frustration.

We commend these students who understand that the quality of our answers improves in direct proportion to the quality of our questions. Will the Board demonstrate the same critical thinking?

We also want to thank the staff who stopped and spoke with us, asked questions, and shared their own concerns about how, in far too many areas, Columbus State is losing its student-centered focus to a destructive bottom-line mentality.

A few administrators and managers waved as they drove past pickets. At least 2 turned their faces away. Maybe some DO have a sense of shame.



Bargaining talks broke off last Friday afternoon when it became obvious that the administration had ambushed CSEA's Negotiating Team with what appears to have been a false offer to discuss "fresh ideas."

While we suspected that the administration would continue to avoid actual negotiations (and bargain in bad faith), the CSEA Negotiating Team decided to make another good faith effort to settle the current dispute by meeting with the administration and a mediator last Friday. After faculty representatives created and presented 2 separate proposals that could lead to a settlement (more on that in an upcoming WRH), the Board's lead negotiators sent word that they were not interested in additional compromise, and that they intended to present CSEA with a final offer.

The administration again has refused to bargain or offer any compromise solution. There were no "fresh ideas" from the administration. In fact, it appears that all they intended to do was improperly force an end to the negotiation process by threatening to implement a "take it or leave it" final offer that closes the door on negotiations and threatens to implement terms without an agreement.

While we do not think we are anywhere near an "ultimate impasse" situation, we believe the Board and the administration may try to use this tactic rather then bargain in good faith. If they do, it may involve a long process of litigations with the SERB Board and an understandably less cooperative approach from faculty subjected to a "solution" that has been imposed rather than honestly negotiated.

Although there may still be room for talks, it now appears that autumn will be hotter than summer.


There's been too much loose language regarding our current benefits coverage, with the spokesperson for Human Resources referring to it as a "Cadillac" plan in a misleading effort to make employees believe that somehow they've been living the high life when it comes to health care.

A few facts can let you understand the reality. SEE THE ATTACHED TABLE that will allow you to compare the decent coverage CSCC employees have had in the past to the Board's "new and imposed" plan. It also contains information from comparable Ohio community colleges.

College Employee % of Premiums Copay Office Visit Copay Urgent Care Copay Emerg. Room Copay Inpatient Hospital Deductible Single Deductible Family Coinsurance Out-of-Pocket Limit Single Coinsurance Out-of-Pocket Limit Family Presc. Drug
Cincinnati State 0%1 $51 $25 $50 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 5/12/221
Cuyahoga CC 20% $15 10% 10% 10% $0 $0 $0 $0 5/10/20
Owens CC3 0% $5 $0 $0 $0 $150 $300 $600 $1200 2/5
Sinclair CC 12%4 $25 $35 $100 20% $0 $0 $1500 $3000 10/30/50
CSEA Proposed 10% $15 $35 $45 $250 $0 $0 $500 $1000 10/15/30
Board Proposed 20% $20 $50 $75 $250 $200 $400 $2000 $4000 15/30/50

1.  Cincinnati State is currently in negotiations.  A fact-finder has recommended that faculty at Cincinnati State begin to pay 5% of their annual health insurance premiums, that the employee portion of Office Visit Copay become $15, and that their Prescription Drug charges increase to 10/20/30; all other coverages to remain the same.
2.  Lakeland faculty pay $8 / mo for single coverage, $21 / mo for family coverage.
3.  Owens is currently in negotiations.  The numbers here reflect their current coverage (through February, 2006).
4.  Sinclair is in the process of phasing in increases in the employee-portion of premiums.  After a 5-year transition period, employees will be paying 20% of health insurance premiums.

A few calculations reveal the following: Based on 9-month contract and family insurance (current plan), a faculty member earning less than $52,000 will take home less money if CSEA accepts the Board's medical proposal and a 3% raise. This would include all Instructors, Assistant Professors, and some recently promoted Associate Professors. And anyone making over $52,000 obviously would not realize the full effect of the proposed 3% raise (especially since inflation is running over 3%). Check it out for yourself. Do the numbers for your family. And see the number that's being done on them.

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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