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Tentative pact means commencement is on



Published: Fri, August 9, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A vote by union members to accept or reject the terms will be taken next Thursday.

YOUNGSTOWN -- It now appears that Youngstown State University's summer commencement will go forward as planned Aug. 17.

"Every expectation now is that commencement will be held," said Walt Ulbricht, executive director of marketing and communications.

He released a brief statement Thursday night announcing a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with the YSU-Association of Classified Employees, which represents about 370 nonteaching employees ranging from maintenance workers to computer programmers.

Christine Domhoff, chief negotiator for the YSU-ACE, said the agreement was presented to the bargaining unit Thursday evening, and union members would receive a typed copy by the middle of next week.

She noted that a vote by union members to accept or reject the terms will be taken next Thursday. Domhoff said there is still a chance that the agreement could be rejected and a strike would take place, but that it was probably unlikely.

"It appears there is support for it," she said.

Strike date was set

The classified union had set a strike date for Aug. 16, the day before commencement.

More details will be announced once YSU trustees and the YSU-ACE members have ratified the agreement, Ulbricht said.

Domhoff said she could not speak to the specifics of the agreement, "but we have said all along it was about pay, benefits and job security."

In a written statement issued this morning, YSU President David Sweet said the agreement "fulfills our goals that YSU will provide competitive compensation and benefits within our fiscal constraints and that employees will benefit from increased enrollment ... it supports the objective that managing health-care costs is a responsibility for both the university and its employees.

"I hope that we will use the positive resolution of these important negotiations as a building block to achieving an enhanced labor-management relations climate," Sweet wrote.

Earlier Thursday, Sweet had announced a change in commencement plans during a meeting with about 100 university supervisors.

If commencement was postponed, diplomas would be mailed to graduates the week of Aug. 19, he said. "In addition, telephone calls will be made to each person registered for commencement to notify him/her that the event would be postponed," he said.

If there is not a strike, commencement will proceed as scheduled at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 in Beeghly Center.

Previously, YSU officials have said commencement would go on as scheduled even if there is a strike.

The university's faculty union, meanwhile, also is negotiating a new pact and has said it may strike Aug. 26, the first day of fall semester classes.

Ulbricht said YSU plans to conduct classes even if there is a strike.




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