The university and ACE were ready to negotiate through the night Sunday.
By SEAN BARRON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- One strike down, one to go.
Youngstown State University students and professors are back in the classroom today, thanks to members of the YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association who approved a new three-year contract agreement with the university and ended their strike, which started Tuesday. After a two-hour vote Sunday evening at First Christian Church, professors and others in the 390-member faculty union approved the pact 182-119.
It remains to be seen, however, when the 400-member Association of Classified Employees, the other striking union, will be back on the job. ACE members began another round of negotiations at 10 Sunday night to try to end their strike, which began Aug. 16.
YSU President David Sweet said the university negotiating team will meet through the night so a tentative agreement can be reached with ACE, and their members can return to normal work shifts this morning.
Sweet thanked members of the university's negotiating team and faculty for their work on the faculty agreement.
"This contract allows for our faculty to continue to receive competitive salaries and benefits," he said. "It allows the university to maintain a balanced budget and to be in a position to respond to future financial demands."
Earlier Sunday, three hours of negotiations between ACE representatives and members and the university failed to end their strike. They voted 211-85 to reject a tentative pact with YSU that included 9-percent pay raises over three years as well as provisions that employees begin contributing toward their health care premiums. Also included in the proposal was a one-time $200 payment to each ACE worker who returned to work today.
ACE union President Christine Domhoff said the union was still focused on ending the strike as soon as possible.
"We want to get this done for the students," Domhoff said. "We're still hopeful for a settlement tonight and to get back to work tomorrow."
Domhoff said that "things can happen fast."
A major issue is YSU's "insistence on an inferior pay scale for new hires," as well as health care, she said.
During Sunday's meeting, ACE members also passed a resolution of no confidence against Sweet. Among the items in the document are what the union says is Sweet's "dismissive, patronizing and uncooperative approach to the process."
The resolution also accuses him of accepting a lucrative long-term contract and "extravagant" benefits when his administration contends no money is available for salary increases for faculty.
Domhoff said there's solidarity between the two unions and that she's "thrilled" the faculty has a contract.
Bob Hogue, chief spokesman for the faculty union, said he couldn't comment on specific items in the faculty contract until the university officially ratifies it. Hogue added that he hopes YSU will engage in good-faith bargaining with the ACE union.
"I will feel lonely personally and professionally" without ACE members at work, Hogue said.
John Vogel, a YSU senior, said he'll be happy to be in class, but that "this is Chapter 1." Students need to be supportive of continued talks with ACE members, the journalism major said.
Vogel added that students' best interests need to be kept in mind and that ACE workers need to be back on the job.
He also predicted it will be chaotic on campus today.