Board committee OKs police contract extension, asks for faculty workload discussion

February 15, 2011 | News, UToday
By Jon Strunk

With a difficult budget cycle ongoing statewide for fiscal year 2012, University of Toledo trustees discussed several items designed to help plan for providing services with reduced funding.

During a Feb. 14 Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting, UT officials announced they had reached a tentative one-year contract extension with the UT Police Patrolman’s Association (UTPPA), pending board approval; were exploring the outsourcing of Food and Nutrition Services and the gift shop at UT Medical Center; and asked that the administration and faculty begin a conversation considering increasing faculty workload from 12 to 15 credit hours or equivalent per semester.

The agreement with UTPPA, now extended through Dec. 31, 2012, calls for a 0 percent wage increase, eight furlough hours, and a one-time retirement cash incentive if notice is submitted by March 31. Additionally, members have an increased off-campus prescription co-payment, which is an effort to encourage usage of the UT Pharmacy and reduce the University’s prescription coverage costs. The extension was approved by a 27-1 vote of the union membership.

“We really appreciate what the police have done, and we’re thankful they are willing to stand up and help the University,” said Trustee Bill Koester.

The agreement will be voted on by the full board in March.

UT and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8, AFSCME Local 2415, are following the guidelines established in the collective bargaining agreement addressing subcontracting, Bill Logie, vice president for human resources and campus safety, told the trustees.

If a decision is made to subcontract, about 70 employees — 61 of whom are represented by AFSCME — would be affected. President Lloyd Jacobs said the University hopes to minimize the number of people who ultimately lose their jobs between the number of employees who may be hired by the subcontractor and those who can fill vacant positions at UT.

Meanwhile, Trustee Carroll Ashley introduced the draft of a resolution that he called the starting point for a conversation about faculty workload.

“If we were to wait until we have a strong sense of the budget realities from the state, it may be too late in the budget development process to get meaningful feedback about this issue,” Ashley said. He asked the administration, the Faculty Senate and the faculty to begin discussing the issue.

Trustee Susan Gilmore asked for additional information on the impact increasing workload from 12 credit hours to 15 would have on students’ access to faculty members, particularly among those who teach large sections.

Jacobs said the reality was the resolution probably wouldn’t affect the majority of faculty.

“I have no doubt this won’t affect the great majority of faculty who are already putting in the equivalent of 15 credit hours or more every semester,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs and Ashley both said faculty workload was only one piece of a much larger effort to control costs.

“There is no scenario in front of us that will be without pain,” Jacobs said, describing the budget planning process of the next several months.

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