YSU CONTRACT ACE president expects lukewarm acceptance

Employees would pay a portion for health care beginning next year.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The president of the union representing classified employees at Youngstown State University expects a contract to pass today but not by a large margin.
The 400-member Association of Classified Employees met Tuesday for an informational session to review the tentative agreement reached Aug. 29. Members are expected to vote today.
Concerns expressed
Christine Domhoff, ACE president, said concerns expressed by members dealt with the creation of tiered salary structure and the payments for health coverage.
The pact calls for annual pay raises of 3 percent in each of the first two years and 3.25 percent in the third year. It also requires, beginning Aug. 15, 2006, employees to begin paying 1.5 percent of their base pay for family health insurance coverage or 0.75 percent for individual coverage.
The new contract also creates a lower pay scale for newly hired employees and provides an early-retirement incentive.
"They also felt that the administration just disrespected them," Domhoff said.
The faculty union was given retroactive pay raises that aren't afforded in ACE's contract, the union president said.
"I think it will probably pass, but it's not going to be by a very strong majority," she said.
Previous pact
Three years ago, when ACE last approved a pact with the university, only a handful of members opposed it.
"I don't think that's going to happen this time," Domhoff said.
Union members agreed in their last contract to a deal where their traditional health plan was eliminated and replaced by a health maintenance organization and a preferred provider organization.
That saved the university $2 million, she said.
The union struck Aug. 16 until the start of classes Aug. 29, when the tentative agreement was reached.

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