Staff Bargaining Unit Frequently Asked Questions

CWA 4302 

UA-Staff Bargaining Unit

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

 Q.        Where can I find the website for the CWA 4302?

A.        Welcome to The Staff Bargaining Unit’s elected representative, CWA Local 4302, website:

            CWA Local 4302 Website 

Q.        How do I join the CWA Notification Network?

A.        Local 4302 wants to keep you up to date on events, meetings, and general information by text message. Join the notification network by sending a text to Local 4302 by following the instructions at the link below:  

            Notification Network Instructions

 Q.        How can I find a copy of our contract on the University of Akron Website?

A.        Go to UA Web site and type in “Labor Relations” in search bar.  Click on “Employee and Labor Relations”.  This will take you to the segment of the HR Web Site.  On the box on the right side, scroll down to the link for “SBU”.  (Staff Bargaining Unit).  On this link the UA “work rules” are also posted.  

           SBU CWA

CWA and the University of Akron enterred into an extension Agreement in effect through June of 2021.  The details of that agreement can be found here

 Q.        What are Work Rules and whose rules are they?

A.        The University has the right to post Work Rules. They are on the Labor Relations site as mentioned above.  Familiarize yourself with these workplace rules. CWA reserves the right to grieve the University’s Work Rules. 

 Q.        What is the SBU? How was it determined which job titles are in the SBU?

A.        Whenever you see the initials “SBU” it stands for Staff Bargaining Unit.  During the organizing process CWA and UA attended a hearing of the State Employee Relations Board (SERB) in Columbus. All staff job titles were put on the table and one by one argued to include or exclude in the SBU. Of course, CWA would like all job titles to be included in the SBU, but the University presented an argument against titles that supervised other staff or were in charge of confidential HR information. The University was able to have those titles excluded from the SBU. 

 Q.        As a member of the SBU am I a member of CWA 4302?

A.        You are included in the SBU by your title, and you are a member of CWA 4302 if you sign a membership form. 

Q.        Why do you have to fill out a membership form?

A.        Signing a membership card authorizes payroll to deduct monthly dues from your paycheck. The membership form link is below: 

            Membership Form

 Q.     Why should I be a member of 4302?

A.      Members have the privilege to:

  • Vote on the contract
  • Attend the contract explanation meeting
  • Vote on Officers that serve our local
  • Attend Monthly Membership Meetings
  • Receive free representation for Workers Compensation claims
  • Members enjoy many discounts including the Union Plus program which gives discounts on credit cards, travel, car rental etc. https://www.unionplus.org/

 Q.     What if I prefer not to be a member?

A.     You will not have the privileges noted above. 

 Q.    What is the cost of membership?

A.     The cost is 1.3% of your base hourly rate. It is a little over an hour of your pay each pay period.

Q.    Some months dues are not collected – why is that?

A.     The dues and fair share are collected twice a month. Two times a year there are 3 pay days in one month. Dues are not collected in those 2 pay periods

 Q.     What is the money collected from dues used for?

A.     The bulk of the dues money pays for representation. This would include: the negotiators at contract time, the officers that represent workers in discipline hearings, grievance hearings and job audit appeals. Another expense covered by dues is the operation of the union hall on S. Arlington (where we have monthly meetings) utilities, repairs, supplies and services for our local. CWA 4302 is also comprised of AT&T workers and Stark Metropolitan Housing workers that share in these costs. We have a President, Executive Vice President, Vice President, and Secretary that run the local. UA Staff can call there for help with Workers Comp Issues, contract issues, and general questions or requests for help. Any time there is a write up these officers come out and represent our members in disciplinary meetings with the supervisor and Human Resources. Also, when we have layoffs or positions are eliminated, the officers monitor the process to make sure it is done correctly and by the contract. One of larger expenses is the contract negotiating – it takes months to get a Collective Bargaining Agreement that members will approve. 

There is transparency in the budget process. At each monthly membership meeting the financial report for the previous month is read and then approved. The yearly budget projection is presented to the membership and approved for the fiscal year October-September. 

 **Dues cannot be used for political purposes – campaigns – donations to candidates.

 Q.    What is our PAF?

A.     PAF is our voluntary Political Action Fund. The CWA Political Action Fund (PAF) is a non-partisan political action committee that fights for workers' political power. It is your chance to have your voice - and the issues you care about - heard at the local, state and national levels of government. Your voluntary contributions to the fund would go toward policies and candidates that defend workers' rights and labor issues.

What is PAF?

 Q.    Am I still a Civil Service Worker? Do I need union protection?

A.    UA staff are no longer Classified Civil Service Employees according to the State of Ohio. We have not had that protection since 2006. The change was made during the 126th Ohio State Legislature in House Bill 187, Section 134.01. In summary, it exempts “state supported colleges and universities” from employing Classified Civil Service Employees in the state of Ohio. The job security we once enjoyed as State Civil Service Workers is no longer. Those protections now are provided by a contract established by our new representative, CWA.

 Q.     How does staff get a voice at the University of Akron? Why a staff union here at the University of Akron?

A.     The only way to guarantee a voice that speaks for staff was to form a union to represent ourselves to UA management.  We chose to exercise our legal right to collective bargaining. In short – we wanted a seat at the bargaining table. The faculty, the skilled trades, campus police and the EJ Thomas hall stage workers at the University of Akron had already chosen to be a part of a union.  All four campus unions had legally binding contracts that addressed working conditions, wages, benefits, rights, protections and more. As staff members, we also wanted a contract that would establish fair and equitable treatment in the workplace, improved working conditions and pay.

 Q.       What is a Union Steward? Do they get paid? How are they chosen?

A.        A union steward answers questions, shares information and represents staff members in discipline and grievance meetings.  Union Stewards volunteer to do this work on their own time.  University time can only be used to attend hearings.  The stewards are appointed by the local President and most have given hundreds of volunteer hours in the organizing drive and membership campaign. The Chief Steward is elected to a 3-year term and receives a small stipend. Their duties are more numerous and require extensive time outside of the work day.  The traditional “Shop steward” model that we are used to seeing in factories and other occupations would not work for the SBU. We simply have too many locations on campus to have a steward for every building. Your stewards are considered “Stewards at large” and represent the SBU as one group.

Q.     Who are your stewards?

A.        Ann Evans, Bierce Library (330)690-1949 Chief Steward

 Q.     What is a “Local?”  

A.     When people refer to a “local” it is often shortened for term local union.   A Local branch of a union is organized to represent the union members from a particular geographic area. Akron, Ohio is in District 4 of the National CWA (Communication Workers of America) Below is the link to the district and national sites.

National: http://www.cwa-union.org/

District 4: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, And Wisconsin: http://district4.cwa-union.org/

 Q. Where is our local?

A.     2650 S Arlington RD Akron Ohio (330)645-4302

              Our Local

 Q. Who are the Officers?

A. Officers:

Name

Position

Phone 

Fax

Joe Snyder

President 

(330) 645-4302 

(330) 645-4308 

Dustin Robinett

Executive VP 

(330) 645-4302 

(330) 645-4308 

Sheila Ballway

Vice President 

(330) 645-4302 

(330) 645-4308 

Kim Liska

Sec-Tres 

(330) 645-4302 

(330) 645-4308 

 

Q.     When are the monthly meetings held?

A.     As a member you have the right to attend CWA’s monthly membership meetings which are held on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at our local at 2650 S. Arlington, Akron, 44319.  These meetings are currently being held via zoom.  Instructions for how to sign up and attend are pinned to the top of our homepage here.

 Q:     Who is CWA?

A.     CWA represents more than 140,000 public, health care and education workers in the states from coast to coast, ranging from blue collar to white collar workers. In our area our union brothers and sisters work for AT&T, Avaya, CBRE, and Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority.

 Q.     I think I may have made a mistake and my supervisor wants to have a meeting with me.  I am worried I may be in trouble. What should I do?

A.     Contact a Union Steward first, or call the Union Hall.  If discipline is going to be administered, advise your supervisor that you want to delay the meeting until a Union representative can be present. You have the right to Union representation at any type of disciplinary session; management now has to respect your rights.

 Q.     What is the discipline system here at the University of Akron?

A.     Familiarize yourself with the Corrective Action systems here at UA. At the link below there are some training materials, forms, and information.

          Corrective Actions Link

Also, you want to familiarize yourself with the University’s work rules.

           Work Rules Link

 Q.        I have bid on several posted positions at UA that I feel I am qualified to do and I never seem to get a call or an interview.

A.        Every job posting lists qualifications for the position.  When applying for the position be certain that you include the “action” words used in the requirements/qualifications section or the area     that describes the specific duties of the position.  If you feel you have the qualifications and experience posted and have not been contacted for an interview, call a Union steward. You have a contractual right to know why you were not considered for the position.             

**Also, please note that is you leave ANY field in the electronic application blank your application will be considered incomplete and be disqualified.

 Q.     I have a personal health issue that requires me to have medical appointments on a regular basis/I have an immediate family member with a personal health issue that requires me to be with them to care for them, or to transport them to a medical facility on a regular basis.  I am worried about being away from work and my supervisor has made comments about my absence from work.  What can I do? 

A.     Investigate the Family and Medical and Leave Act. Your SBU Contract spells out your rights under FML, you can also get information from our Benefits Department in Human Resources and they can supply you with paperwork that must be completed and signed by a medical professional.  

                        https://www.uakron.edu/hr/benefits/fmla.dot

 Q.        What is the Union doing for me?  

A.        Since our contract was ratified there has been a lot of activity on campus and we have represented employees in disciplinary actions, as well as made certain that UA is following our contract.  We fought hard to negotiate rights and workplace protections that have never been afforded to the Staff members at The University of Akron.  Our last contractual raise was 4% in July 2019 and the contract will be renegotiated in 2021. Keep in mind you must be a signed member to vote on the contract.

As always, if you have any additional questions or we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact your Chief Steward, Ann Evans (330)690-1949 or the Union hall directly (330)645-4302.  As a member you also have the right to attend CWA’s monthly membership meetings which are held on the second Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at our local at 2650 S. Arlington, Akron, 44319.