This past week, the president of the union for classified personnel at Youngstown State University talked about forcing graduates to cross a picket line to get their diplomas at summer commencement. The president of the faculty union suggested that professors might stage a walkout during commencement.
These tactics are apparently seen by union leadership as beneficial to their cause. We can only hope their respective memberships see that the short-range benefits are questionable at best and that the long-range damage could be considerable.
Could there be a better way of alienating an institution's newest alumni than by disrupting their commencement? Or of convincing the parents, aunts and uncles of those graduates that the next generation of students to come from their families won't be going to YSU? We suspect not.
Focus on the president
The unions are painting YSU President David Sweet as the impediment to settlement. Larry Fauver, president of the Youngstown AFL-CIO, said Valley union members should write to Sweet and "tell him to get off his butt and let's get this settled."
David Sweet's posture isn't at issue. Whether he is sitting, reclining or standing on his head, the university doesn't have the money for anything but what some would call modest raises for its employees. At a time when other workers in the Mahoning Valley are facing cutbacks, concessions and job losses, any raise should look good.
If the employees at YSU can't see that, they'll do their best to ruin a once-in-a-lifetime day for many students and their families.
And as enrollment drops in years to come, they may even keep a straight face as they blame Sweet.