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Instructors at Owens vote on 3-year contract

The union representing faculty at Owens Community College will finish voting today on a proposed three-year contract.

The proposal would grant full-time faculty represented by the Owens Faculty Association raises of 5 percent in the first year and 4 percent the second and third years, said Carol Russell, association president.

The union represents 174 faculty and counseling staff on the college's campuses in Perrysburg Township and Findlay, which encompass 15,500 students. The contract would raise the average annual salary of a full-time faculty member from $45,343 to $51,495 over three years.

Union members began balloting yesterday on the proposal, which would be retroactive to Feb. 17. Voting will end today at 5 p.m.

Owens officials said a date has not been set for the board of trustees to meet on the matter.

“I think we had a very good process,” said Pam Pullella, Owens director of student life and a negotiator for the administration. “We discussed a number of things and we've come to a tentative agreement.”

Negotiations were slow and hampered by a late start, which led to two extensions of the union's contract that expired Feb. 16, Ms. Russell said. “There was some concern about the economic situation of the state,” she said

Funding to public institutions of higher education is not expected to increase much over the next two years because of the state's need to overhaul public-school funding and handle rising Medicaid costs.

Governor Taft proposed a budget in January that would dedicate $2.6 billion to higher education in 2001-02 and $2.7 billion in 2002-03, nearly $800 million less than the request by the Ohio Board of Regents.

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