Section: archive

Safety to Unionize After Vote

By David McCabe

Campus Safety officers voted by a wide margin yesterday to form a union, Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman confirmed to the Collegian. Eighteen officers voted in favor of forming a union, and two voted in opposition. One officer did not vote.

The officers will join the Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA). It will be the fourth union present on the Kenyon campus, after the organizations that represent custodial staff, grounds crew members and skilled technicians like electricians.

Officers voted in Weaver Cottage Wednesday using a voting booth brought by a representative of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to ensure secrecy.

Kohlman said the administration was notified of the unionization effort when it received word that Safety officers had submitted a petition to the NLRB. That meant if the unionization resolution passed, the College would be required to recognize the union.

Since the vote succeeded, the officers will now work with the SPFPA to set up their local chapter electing a president and a vice president, as well as other leadership positions. They will then sit down with College officials to negotiate a contract. Right now, all officers work on an at-will basis without a contract and able to be fired, with or without cause, at any time.

President S. Georgia Nugent said negotiations will be quick. The experience of other institutions indicates this could be a fairly lengthy process, she said in an email. In the meantime, staff members continue under their existing contract. I should emphasize that I dont anticipate any change in our Safety staffs excellent work and care for our students.

Kohlman remained optimistic about relations between the administration and safety officers, even after the union vote. We will continue to work with them to provide the best quality safety and security services to the whole campus community, he said.

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