YSU Union to consider report, vote later
YSU trustees will meet Tuesday to review the report.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University's classified civil service staff union is expected to consider a fact finder's report today regarding its contract negotiations with the university.
Fact finder Norman Harlan of Montgomery, W.Va., issued his report Thursday. He looked at 26 outstanding items in contract negotiations between YSU and its 400-member Association of Classified Employees union.
YSU trustees plan to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the recommendations.
Each side has seven days after receiving Harlan's nonbinding report to vote on the recommendations.
His settlement recommendations would be adopted unless three-fifths of the union's membership or three-fifths of the YSU trustees reject them. If that happens, the two sides return to the bargaining table.
The contract expires Aug. 15. In a letter to ACE members last week, Ivan Maldonado, the union's vice president said little progress was being made, management's response to union proposals was "anemic," and he listed six days -- Aug. 16, 17, 18, 19, 22 and 23 -- as possible strike dates.
In its three-year contract proposal, YSU offered the union raises in their base pay of 2 percent in the first year, 2.2 percent in the second year, and 3 percent in the third year. The union wanted 5 percent annual raises.
Harlan's recommendation is annual raises of 2 percent, 2.5 percent, and 3 percent. The current ACE contract calls for union members to receive up to $600 annual enrollment incentives.
In the new contract, the union was looking for incentives up to $1,200 annually added to their base rate while YSU wants to get rid of the incentives.
Harlan sides with YSU on the enrollment incentive proposal.
The union wanted five additional paid holidays, on top of the 10 full paid holidays, and make Saturday afternoon a paid holiday. Harlan recommended no change in holiday pay.
He rejected an ACE proposal to have YSU pick up its members' contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System.
YSU wanted ACE employees to pay 10 percent of the monthly cost of health insurance premiums. That would be $108 a month right now. To ease ACE members into contributing toward the cost, they wouldn't pay anything toward the premiums in the first year, pay 5 percent in the second year, and then go to 10 percent in the contract's third year.
Harlan vs. union
The union didn't want any employee contribution to monthly health insurance premiums.
Harlan recommended current employees pay 5 percent of their insurance premiums in the third year of the contract and nothing in the first two years. Also, employees hired on or after Aug. 16 would pay 5 percent of the premiums immediately, Harlan recommends.
He also recommended no change in ACE members' health insurance benefits.
ACE members pay $5 for doctor visits, $2 for generic drugs and $12 for name-brand drugs.
The university wants to increase the co-payment for doctor visits to $15, and the cost of name-brand drugs to $17.
Christine Domhoff, ACE union president, couldn't be reached Thursday to comment.
James Wilkins, an attorney who is YSU's chief negotiator for the ACE contract, described Harlan's recommendations as a "very fair settlement in terms of" what the university can afford to pay its employees.
The contract with the 380-member faculty union expires Aug. 21. The faculty union and YSU have met about 15 times and are still negotiating a contract.
YSU agreed last month to give 3 percent raises to about 100 high-level professional administrative employees who don't belong to a union. Those employees also will pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums beginning in January.