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YSU rejects report favoring faculty raises

Published: Sat, August 13, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Denise Dick



The faculty union at Youngs-town State University contends the university is exaggerating its expenses and understating revenues.

Without comment, university trustees on Friday voted to reject a fact finder’s report that would have given YSU faculty raises of 0 percent, 1 percent and 2 percent in the first, second and third years of an agreement, respectively.

Trustees Millicent S. Counts, David Charles Deibel, Sudershan K. Garg, John R. Jakubek, Leonard D. Schiavone, Scott Schulick and Carole S. Weimer rejected the report. Trustees Delores Crawford and Harry Meshel were absent.

“While the fact finder acknowledges the difficult budgetary circumstances facing the university, his recommendations outlined in the report do not allow us to sufficiently address those challenges,” Garg, trustees chairman, said afterward in a written statement.

Faculty union members voted to accept the report and also voted to authorize a 10-day strike notice. The notice will be delivered to the State Employment Relations Board next week.

The current pact expires Wednesday.

Julia Gergits, union president, said the fact that members voted to accept the fact finder’s report even though it involves deep concessions shows their dedication to the university and students.

“This would have been the worst contract that we’ve ever had, and still the faculty voted to accept it,” she said.

The faculty doesn’t want to strike, Gergits said.

Stanley Guzell, the union’s chief negotiator, said the union went into negotiations recognizing these are economically-challenging times.

“Our initial offer was concessionary,” Guzell said. “That has never happened — never.”

In the university’s statement, Garg and YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson called on the faculty to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible to resume negotiating.

“These are unprecedented and uncertain economic times,” Garg said. “It is our responsibility to ensure the fiscal health of the institution today and into the future. The recommendations included in this report do now allow us to fulfill that responsibility.”

Guzell said a federal mediator who sat in on negotiations last spring has offered to return and play a more active role, and he said he welcomes that. The union is willing to return to bargaining, although members believe they’ve given enough, he said.

Guzell in a statement questioned what the university calls its dire financial condition.

He said the fact finder’s recommendations would have cost YSU $1.3 million — less than half the amount generated by the 3.5 percent tuition increase effective this fall.

Guzell also pointed out that what YSU initially said was a $9.5 million deficit “immediately shrank to $1.67 [million] when they had to present honest numbers to the trustees.” Even that amount is suspect, he said in the statement.

“In 2010, in the midst of what they portrayed in fact-finding as ‘dire’ financial circumstances, President Anderson accepted a 30.24 percent increase in pay over that of her 10-year veteran predecessor, and Provost [Ikram] Khawaja accepted a 4.7 percent increase,” Guzell said in the statement. “On average, higher-level administrators gave themselves more than 6 percent raises. Can anyone believe that this is how an administration would act if [it] really were in ‘dire’ circumstances?”

Another change recommended by the fact finder was the amount paid for summer instruction, which is outside of the nine-month teaching contract for the regular school year.

The current formula multiplies 0.0375 times the number of credit hours taught during the summer session times the base salary of the faculty member. YSU wanted the pay to be reduced, knocking the multiplier down 40 percent to 0.0225.

The faculty proposed a reduction of the multiplier to 0.0360 or 4 percent.

The fact finder agreed with the union.

The fact finder’s report, though, recommended the university’s proposal on health-care insurance coverage — which would require union members to bear 15 percent of the monthly health-care coverage premium for both family and individual plans.

Under the pact that expires next week, faculty members contribute 1.5 percent of their base salary for family health insurance and 0.75 percent for individual coverage.

Guzell’s statement says that the administration has more than adequate reserves, revenues and already-offered concessions from the union.

“And yet, it continues to hide substantial additional funds by being vague about savings being accumulated now and for years to come from unfilled faculty and staff vacancies,” his statement says.

The university has the money; it just doesn’t want to spend it on its faculty, he said.

Negotiations between the two entities began in February, and the university also is negotiating with the union representing its classified employees.

“I want to ensure students and the community, as well as the faculty and all employees, that we are committed to negotiating a contract that is fair for all parties and is within the financial means of the university,” Anderson said in YSU’s statement. “We look forward to resuming negotiations with our faculty, reaching a settlement and moving forward in serving our students and community.”


1monaburge(1 comment)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

So as I say, I wake up every morning, thankful that I have exceptional health insurance coverage I found through "Penny Health" for my family because it gives me peace of mind knowing that my family can count on me to deliver their health care needs.

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

That's some health care deal for part-timers (Off during the summer). I pay 100% of my health care and it keeps going up!

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3foghorn(9 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

crlbk1052, I have to agree with you on this one. YSU is very dysfunctional. The concessions should start at the top. All administrators take cuts and pay more for health care. Then go to unions and ask for proportional cuts. Be fair to all. Don't expect the people making $40,000 to pay the same amount for health care as those at the top making $150,000+. It's just not right. And stop all the double dipping on campus. Administrators who've retired with wonderful pensions should not be back making big bucks. Get some new blood in there.

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4franc004(71 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Okay here we go. Headline "YSU rejects report favoring faculty raises" yet the healthcare concession amounts to a more than 3 percent pay cut for the lowest paid faculty. Don't see that anywhere in the story.

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5dancinmoses(68 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

You will never see that in print about the health care concessions, not in this corrupt valley where FREEDOM of SPEECH is something that is not recognized here. Seems like the vindy can only print partial truths, let's see who do they answer to? Someone up the hill from them? mmmmmm.....makes one wonder.....I agree Foghorn, get NEW BLOOD there not the retire-rehire gang of 'thugs'. Anyone ever check how many of them are on the payroll, they retire, collect a full pension, then get REHIRED at a even bigger salary than they made when working there.....something is very wrong about the hiring policies there

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6ytown1234(11 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

All of the comments should remember that Dr. Anderson, shortly after her appointment, announced a donation of $100,000 from her salary to YSU to a schoalship fund in honor of her parents. Additionally, all exempt administrators at YSU already pay 10% of their health care premiums and have for several years. Two years ago, executives voted to voluntarily give back their raises. Students have made their sacrifice, administration has cut costs, and now faculty and staff need to make the same sacrifice.

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7DOLE2(595 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Her donation of $100k saved her about $110k in income taxes!

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8franc004(71 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Seems to me that willingness to abide by a contract that amounts to a substantial pay cut through the healthcare premium is a sacrifice, one that essentially amounts to a net decrease in pay over the three years of the contract while cost of living, inflation, etc. will continue to rise. And please, we all know that healthcare premiums are factored into the base salaries of administrators upon their hire--remember Sweet's Cadillac plan? I think Dr. Anderson must be trying to prove herself, and the BOT is just trying to seize the petty political moment to squirrel away funds for the Provost's pet projects.

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