Union approves vote of 'no confidence'

Dr. Sweet said he was unaware of any uncooperative behavior by the negotiating team.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown State University faculty has no confidence in the administration of YSU President David C. Sweet.
In addition to rejecting the university's three-year contract proposal and voting to go on strike as of 12:01 a.m. today, the faculty union approved a "resolution of no confidence" Monday in Sweet's administration.
Bob Hogue, spokesman for the 380-member Youngstown State University Chapter of the Ohio Education Association, said the measure passed overwhelmingly.
The "no confidence" resolution accused Sweet's administration of using "a dismissive, patronizing and uncooperative approach" during recent contract negotiations, leading to strikes by the university's two largest bargaining units.
The 400-member YSU Association of Classified Employees went on strike one week ago after rejecting a three-year contract proposal.
The strike vote by the faculty union leaves both groups off the job with less than a week before the start of fall classes, which begin Monday.
Sweet said he hasn't been at the negotiating table personally, but he is unaware of any type of dismissive or uncooperative behavior by university negotiators.
"I think it comes with the territory," he said of the "no confidence" vote.
These are challenging times, he said, pointing out that the university must deal with shrinking support from the state, rising health care costs and a myriad of other issues that affect YSU's budget.
The faculty's attack on him is a case of shooting the messenger, he said.
He denied any attempt at union-busting, saying he has the highest regard for the university's faculty and staff.
The "no confidence" resolution accuses Sweet of accepting "a lucrative long-term contract with extravagant benefits" at the same time his administration contends there are no funds available for salary increases for faculty and staff beyond what has been proposed.
The resolution also points out that the Sweet administration insists that employees pay part of their health care insurance premiums, yet Sweet's contract provides him access to "the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Executive Health Program."
Morale issue
Those and other actions have caused serious harm to the morale of the YSU community and place the university in a position of public embarrassment, the resolution says.
Sweet's contract runs through June 2010, due to an extension approved by the YSU Board of Trustees in November.
His base salary of $203,500 was raised by just over $6,100 retroactive to July 1, 2004, but he donated the first year's raise back to the university. Salary increases for the remaining years call for adjustments of no less than 2 percent and no more than 4 percent annually.
Sweet's $52,615 annual housing allowance and $7,938 annual car allowance are being rolled into his base salary over 3.5 years.

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