Strike not imminent, but possible

” Negotiations between Akron American Association of University Professors and University of Akron administration are on the brink of a stalemate, according to history professor Walter Hixson. Hixson, also president of the Akron AAUP, addressed his colleagues in a letter Monday, stating that unless the situation at the bargaining table improves… we may well face a stalemate and the possibility of a work stoppage.”

Negotiations between Akron American Association of University Professors and University of Akron administration are on the brink of a stalemate, according to history professor Walter Hixson.

Hixson, also president of the Akron AAUP, addressed his colleagues in a letter Monday, stating that unless the situation at the bargaining table improves… we may well face a stalemate and the possibility of a work stoppage.

He said the administration has been attempting to undo some of the basic advances made in the union’s first contract and has proposed that they be given unilateral control over wages, health care and other critical issues in the future.

Negotiating began in July and there are 12 more sessions left until a new labor contract must be agreed on next month.

It’s a very intense and complex negotiation, Hixson said.

Hixson explained that they have been meeting several days a week this semester and plan on meeting almost every work day until the middle of December.

If there is a work stoppage, it will take place in the beginning of next semester.

Hixson said a strike isn’t imminent or even very likely, but he wanted to give his colleagues and the administration a time table in case there was one.

We are not on the brink of a strike, he said.

The last thing the faculty wants to do is disrupt the campus and student life over this labor issue, but the university’s approach to it hasn’t been very constructive thus far, he said.

There is still time to avoid a needless confrontation that would inconvenience our students and ill serve the Akron community. We remain prepared and eager to negotiate, Hixson wrote.

Hixson also told colleagues that they should be prepared and willing to compromise on some issues, but added that they will not be railroaded nor treated like second-class citizens.

The two sides are currently in mediation with Rob Stein, who also will serve as the fact-finder. Both sides must make a decision and Stein will set the terms of the contract based on the positions of both sides.

Hixson explained that the university can reject the fact-finding report and implement its own offer.

We would then face the decision of accepting the offer or going on strike in an effort to achieve better terms, he wrote.