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Published: 8/16/2005

College boss says union vote signals 'incivility'

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ARCHBOLD, Ohio - For the second time in just over a year, union members affiliated with the Northwest State Community College Education Association here have issued a vote of no confidence against college President Betty Young.

The vote, which union members say stems from repeated violations of their contract and unilateral changes made at the campus without negotiation, also applies to members of the college's board of trustees.

Betty Elling, a labor relations consultant for the Ohio Education Association, said yesterday that the no-confidence vote was taken previously but wasn't released publicly until now because of ongoing issues that haven't been resolved.

"This is all the association is trying to do is to have a working relationship with the administration. But every time we take a step forward, they take a step back," she said.

Union officials, who represent 105 faculty members and support staff at the college, said recent mediation arranged by the State Employment Relations Board broke down. The issue involved changes that were made in August, 2004, in the student services area.

College leaders yesterday disputed the union's claims, saying they did try to negotiate but members walked out and later filed an unfair labor practice charge against administrators.

In a prepared statement, Ms. Young, who took over as Northwest State's president in 2003, strongly denounced the union's latest action of a no vote.

"The association has chosen incivility as a protest strategy and has misused the collective bargaining process in hurtful ways to its members, our students, and our administrators," she said in the statement.

"The vote of no confidence has nothing to do with poor leadership of the board or administra-tion. It is a weapon, a strategic use of incivility, intended to bring pressure to bear on the administration to stop all change," the statement continued.

"As the president of this college, I will not personally tolerate incivility on our campus."

A spokesman for the college said Ms. Young was unavailable for further comment yesterday.

Sue Derck of Antwerp, Ohio, chairman of the board of trustees, could not be reached for comment yesterday. But she said in the same statement trustees fully support the administration in its attempt to work within the labor agreement.

Earlier this month, the board of trustees extended Ms. Young's contract for three more years and increased her salary by 1.5 percent to $119,060 from $117,300. She also was offered a 7.5 percent increase in her long-term compensation package with additional retirement benefits.

Contact Kim Bates at:

kimbates@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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