Arbiter likely to decide pay issue

By Harold Gwin

The university says a new job classification schedule must match a state schedule.

YOUNGSTOWN — A pay-scale dispute involving the president of Youngstown State University’s Association of Classified Employees union appears headed for binding arbitration.

A spokeswoman for the ACE union said the university has denied the grievances the union filed on behalf of Ivan Maldonado and the union itself, in relation to Maldonado’s pay rate and the allegation that the university has unilaterally changed the contract negotiated last year. The union charged that the university was in breach of its contract.

Under the ACE contract, either the union or the university can request binding arbitration to resolve the dispute, and the union’s executive committee has voted unanimously to pursue arbitration, said Christine Domhoff, the union’s interim grievance chairwoman.

A university spokesman declined to comment on the issue, saying only that YSU will allow the grievance process to work its way to conclusion.

Domhoff said the union will contact the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service asking for a list of seven potential mediators.

Both the union and the university can strike one name at a time from the list until only one name is left. If either side is unhappy with that selection, a second list of seven can be secured, and the selection process begins again, Domhoff said.

There is no specific timetable for completing the arbitration process, she said.

At issue is the university’s attempt to bring all of the 380 ACE employee pay scales in line with a state job classification plan.

University officials and the board of trustees said it was their intent to have a new job schedule implemented that matched an existing state job classification schedule in the new ACE contract.

As it turned out, the version finally approved didn’t match the state in every category, but differences didn’t come to light until Maldonado was granted a job reclassification that changed his administrative assistant 3 classification to a payroll special 2.

The state schedule showed the job at a pay grade of 31, but the new YSU schedule approved in the contract put it at a 36, a $21,000-a-year difference, and Maldonado was initially paid at the higher level.

However, the university later decided that the ACE president had incorrectly received that pay raise and reduced his pay beginning with the Jan. 2 payroll, cutting his $82,613 annual salary by $21,000 and triggering the grievances, according to the union.

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