Quick Look: OU Trustees Reject Union Agreement, New Furlough Policy Coming

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Ohio University’s Board of Trustees held their first-ever virtual meeting Monday.

The members acknowledged outstanding students, approved a tuition freeze, and new academic programs as expected per the agenda overview. But an item originally submitted for approval was ultimately voted down.

Screenshot of 3 people and one screen saver during a video conference call
Ohio University Board of Trustees meeting with Chair Dave Scholl, President Duane Nellis and VP of Finance Deborah Shaffer, pictured, and Secretary David Moore’s screensaver.  (screenshot)

The board members rejected the university’s tentative collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1699. The most recent agreement that covered certain facilities and culinary workers expired on March 1, 2020. This new deal was approved just before the pandemic began to deepen OU’s shortfall.

Deborah Shaffer, the vice president of finance,  told the board that the university leadership recommended they “reconsider the terms and conditions of the tentative agreement in the best interest of OU.”

Shaffer also said that an interim furlough plan would be announced by the end of the week. The new policy will allow, “a tiered furlough structure based on compensation or salary level,” and she said the original policy required across the board cuts instead of a tiered structure.

The university has yet to release its full budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2020.

The next board meeting will also be conducted online and is set for June 18 – 19, 2020.

According to the university, a total of 1,725 different people logged onto this meeting with about 500-600 in attendance at any one time.

“President Nellis is skillfully navigating many critical issues” – Dave Scholl, outgoing chair of OU’s Board of Trustees

Read the board’s 1600-word statement: OU Board Stands Behind Dr. Nellis – May 11-2020

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