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YSU's employees unhappy with President Sweet's deal


Published: Thu, September 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


YSU's employees unhappy with President Sweet's deal
EDITOR:
YSU on strike. Labor unrest at our university. Let's take a look at the facts.
At one time with the aluminum and steel industries in this Valley were outstanding in the nation. But many of us who worked in the mills, and our families, would not have had the privilege of higher education if it were not for YSU in our own backyard. We have taken pride in having accredited higher education accessible. I, myself, had worked in the steel mills for 38 years and subsequently became a staff representative with the United Steelworkers. On my retirement at age 65 I was able to satisfy my high school requirement through the GED program and to earn a degree at YSU.
Let's take a look at the facts. President Sweet has been here for about four years. A look at some of the provisions in his recent contract:
Contract extension for six years with guaranteed wage increases. In steel a six-year contact would have been a rarity.
Guaranteed wage increases adjusted by the Consumer Price Index effective July 2005.
Increase in his base salary of $203,520, which amounts to $6,106 -- total salary of $209,626 retroactive to July 1, 2004.
Health insurance co-pay, when all facts are taken into consideration, amounts to .0047 percent of his salary. In addition, the president is to be enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Executive Physical Program -- basic premium of $1,600.
Housing and car allowance to be increased by the CPI on a yearly basis. At the end of this four-year period his salary will be approximately $305,000 (assuming 3 percent CPI adjustment).
Other benefits paid by the university: cell phone, internet access and membership allowances, such as the Youngstown Club and local country club.
Automatic Academic Appointment which means President Sweet is guaranteed tenure. This was unheard of in industry.
On the other hand, the average salary of YSU-ACE employees is $44,500 with 20 years of seniority on average.
Why the labor unrest at our university? Do the wages and benefits appear to be blatantly disparate? Are the board of trustees on their toes? Finally, are the taxpayers, alumni, students and YSU employees to pick up the cost?
FRANK D. ANNESS
Austintown
Professionals don't strike
EDITOR:
It is disgusting that people who consider themselves to be professionals, such as the faculty members at YSU or public schools teachers, resort to tactics such as going out on strike within days of classes starting. Why don't they settle matters of their faculty salaries, health care benefits, and workload in a professional manner with their administrators and members of the faculty senate at the end of the school year, rather than at the beginning? We know the answer to that question. They have decided that it is more advantageous to use the dirty, underhanded tactics promoted by the unions to coerce the administration to knuckle under to their unreasonable demands.
Who suffers most from the strikes? The students do. The beginning of the semester is one of the most important times of the year in which the professors set up the guidelines and expectations for the rest of the semester. The course syllabus is distributed, textbooks identified and purchased, and the students are oriented to the courses they are enrolled in. The first week of classes sets the tone for the entire semester. Once that process is interrupted by faculty being out on strike, the student will be shortchanged for the remainder of the semester. Having been a university professor as a life-long career I know whereof I speak.
Finally, faculty should put students first, and act in a professional manner in solving their disputes.
CHARLOTTE N. JONES
Girard


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