NEGOTIATIONS YSU faculty union sets date for strike

YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University's 380-member faculty union filed a notice to strike effective Aug. 23 if a new contract isn't ironed out by then.
It could get quite crowded on the strike line.
The YSU Association of Classified Employees union, which represents about 400 nonfaculty members, plans to strike Tuesday if it cannot get a new contract by then.
The YSU Board of Trustees met with top university officials for one hour and 45 minutes Tuesday behind closed doors to discuss contract negotiations with the two unions. No action was taken by the board.
The board had planned to consider a fact finder's report on contract negotiations with ACE at Tuesday's meeting.
However, the union rejected the report Friday 316 to 19, so the YSU board didn't discuss it during the executive session, said Trustee John Pogue, chairman of the internal affairs committee.
"It was a moot issue; we didn't discuss it at all," he said. "We discussed our offer and ability to reach an agreement."
Negotiators for ACE and the university met Tuesday and were to continue discussion today.
Fact-finding report
The report from fact-finder Norman Harlan of Montgomery, W.Va., largely recommended maintaining provisions in ACE's current contract, which expires Monday.
YSU had 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 recommended annual raises of 2 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent.
ACE represents nonfaculty employees including clerks, groundskeepers, account clerks, secretaries, computer programmers, custodial workers and food service workers. The annual salary for ACE members range from $23,525 for a clerk who's worked at YSU for about a year to $79,560 for a systems analyst who's worked for the university for about 21 years.
In his report, Harlan also recommended ACE members start paying 5 percent of their health insurance premiums -- that would be about $54 a month right now for family coverage -- in the final year of the three-year contract. Also, employees hired on or after Tuesday would pay 5 percent immediately under Harlan's proposal.
YSU negotiators say Harlan's recommendations were fair while ACE negotiators disagree.
Strike possibility
If a deal with ACE isn't reached Tuesday, its members will strike beginning at 12:01 a.m. the next day.
The strike would shut down the campus, predicted Christine Domhoff, ACE president. She also said ACE has pledges from numerous unions and labor organizations to honor its picket line.
YSU officials say they have a contingency plan if ACE and/or its faculty union follows through with a strike, but won't discuss the details. The fall semester begins Aug. 29.
"I'm confident the university will open" for the fall semester, Pogue said.
Apparently negotiations with the university's faculty union aren't going much better than those with ACE.
Unlike ACE, there is a media blackout provision with regards to releasing details about negotiations with its faculty union.
Stan Guzell, the faculty union's chief negotiator and a professor at YSU's management department, said because of the provision, he couldn't discuss contract specifics.
However, he told The Vindicator the unions plan to strike if a deal isn't reached.
The union filed a notice of intent to strike beginning Aug. 23.
The last strike at YSU was about 15 years ago by the faculty union, and it lasted one day.

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