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University of Cincinnati and faculty union reach tentative agreement on new three-year contract

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CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati and its main faculty union have reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, potentially ending a protracted fight that saw professors working under last year's expired contract more than halfway into the school year.

Negotiations last Monday and Tuesday bore so little fruit that the faculty had planned to stage a demonstration at the UC board of trustees meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning. But negotiators reached major breakthroughs on Saturday, and the faculty's executive committee signed off on the agreement Sunday night.

The demonstration was called off as a show of good faith, said Greg Loving, president of the UC chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which represents nearly all of UC's full-time faculty members.

"(Saturday), they had an all-day session, and they reached some major breakthroughs," he said. "They still have to write all of the specific contract language. Right now, we have a basket of notes and scribbles and a bunch of phone calls."

Loving said additional information about the agreement would not be made public before the formal contract language was written and agreed upon by negotiators.

Once those details are in place, the full faculty membership will be asked to ratify the contract. The final step to putting the contract in place would be for the board of trustees to approve it. Loving estimated that the process will take about a month.

Trustees will have the chance to review the agreement in principal at Tuesday morning's regular board meeting should they choose to discuss it in executive session.

Greg Hand, a UC spokesman, said, "Everyone involved in negotiations this year was committed to the best interests of the University of Cincinnati. The university administration and the AAUP share values of respect, cooperation and collegiality. By bargaining in good faith, we achieved a resolution that we believe both parties will find mutually acceptable."

One of the major points of contention was the share of health care costs that faculty would be asked to bear. Loving said he couldn't comment on details of what they agreed upon but said, "All I can say is that both sides negotiated in good faith on that and that we think the membership can approve the terms."

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