Faculty works as pact talks continue
By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University and the union representing its faculty are expected to meet this morning to try to reach agreement on a new contract.
At a news conference Tuesday, Sherry Linkon, spokeswoman for the YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association, said the faculty hopes to have a tentative agreement its membership can vote on at a Thursday afternoon meeting.
“The board and university administration remain committed to settling the contract in a time frame that will allow classes to begin without disruption as scheduled on Aug. 29,” said a statement from the university Tuesday afternoon.
The YSU board of trustees’ Subcommittee on Collective Bargaining and Negotiations met Tuesday for an update on continuing negotiations with the faculty union. The board did not take any action.
A fact finder’s report earlier this month called for raises of 0 percent, 1 percent and 2 per-cent in a new agreement as well as a reduction in the amount paid to professors for summer school and an increase in faculty’s contributions for health care.
It results in a pay cut for faculty, Linkon said.
The faculty accepted the fact finder’s report; YSU’s board of trustees rejected it.
When the two sides met in a 41/2-hour meeting with a federal mediator Monday, the faculty presented a proposal. Linkon said the administration asked for more information about only summer pay.
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.
In earlier talks, 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 university offered a different take on Monday’s meeting.
“While the board, President Cynthia E. Anderson and the university administration’s negotiations team remain hopeful that a contract settlement will be reached, they also are disappointed that the faculty union’s negotiations team abruptly ended and left negotiations last night, even though the administration was prepared to respond to the union’s latest proposals,” the university’s statement said. “Delays such as these are unfortunate given that the union has filed a strike notice, effective this Friday, which puts both sides on an extremely tight schedule before a potential strike that would have widespread impact across the campus and community.”
Linkon responded to that statement, saying “Monday’s negotiations were ended because the administration’s team refused to respond productively to the faculty’s proposals.”
Chief Negotiator Stan Guzell said, “We did not walk away from negotiations. We ended the session by mutual agreement when it became clear that the administration had nothing new to say.”