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YSU holds course

Published: Sat, August 27, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.


Scott Schulick, a YSU trustee, addresses the press Friday regarding negotiations with the faculty union. Trustees said they’ll listen to what the union has to say but won’t spend more than what’s contained in the last offer.


Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of Youngstown State University trustees, talks to the media during a news conference Friday in Tod Hall. Trustees said they stand behind the administration and the negotiating team.


Wendy Kosovec, left, of McDonald, and her daughter, Cassandra, wait Friday afternoon at YSU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Cassandra, who will be a freshman studying early childhood education, came to check on the status of her financial aid.

Trustees say any new faculty proposal must not cost any more

By Denise Dick



Youngstown State University trustees say they’ll listen to what the faculty union has to say, but they won’t spend more than what the last, best contract offer entailed.

“The university just can’t afford to spend any more,” Sudershan Garg, chairman of the board of trustees, said at a news conference Friday.

The union representing YSU faculty voted Thursday to reject the university’s offer and announced that members would strike. A couple of hours after that announcement, the union changed course and called off the strike. The union said it wanted to return to the bargaining table.

Sherry Linkon, a faculty union spokeswoman, said that if the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the union can still strike. It would have to file a new 10-day strike notice with the State Employment Relations Board.

The strike that was to begin Friday was called off after leadership learned from other labor experts that they had more options: that they could be in their classrooms for the start of classes Monday, allowing students to get their financial aid, and go on strike later if an agreement isn’t reached.

Garg said that if the union can devise a proposal that wouldn’t cost YSU more, the trustees will consider it.

The university says it needs concessions to address a $1.7 million operating deficit this fiscal year.

The cost to the university of the proposed faculty contract would be about $700,000 based on the 2 percent pay increase offered in the third and final contract year.

The estimated savings to the university for the reduction in summer-school pay to faculty is $1.75 million over a three-year contract proposal.

The health-care reduction that the university is seeking for all university employees is $1 million the first year, $2.5 million the second year and $3 million the third, Ron Cole, university spokesman, said. Those cost estimates are based on a saved-in employee contribution of 10 percent, 12 percent and 15 percent in the first through third years respectively. The health-care savings the first year is lower because the increase won’t be effective until January, Cole said.

Linkon said members are disappointed that the board won’t consider more negotiations.

“We’re working hard to come to a compromise, and we’re sorry to see the administration is not acting in the same spirit,” she said.

Julia Gergits, president of the faculty union, said in a statement that she’s also sorry the administration isn’t willing to compromise.

“The administration and board of trustees have repeatedly claimed that we are creating problems in these negotiations,” she said. “But this afternoon’s statement makes clear that we are the problem solvers and they are creating obstacles to resolving this situation.”

A meeting between the two sides is set for Thursday.

In a statement, Stan Guzell, chief faculty union negotiator, said that “preconditioned discussions with an unwillingness to seek mutually agreed-upon solutions demonstrates a failure to fully understand and appreciate the bargaining process.”

Trustee Scott Schulick, chairman of trustees facility and finance committee, said it’s time to begin healing, to move on and to serve students and the community.

The economic crisis of 2008 has affected the university as well as the rest of the state and nation, and it’s something YSU will be dealing with for years, he said.

YSU saw a $7 million cut in its state subsidy this fiscal year and a $1.7 million operating deficit. The university also expects a 15 percent increase in employee health-care costs and is concerned about the student enrollment numbers for the fall semester, Schulick said.

Faculty members aren’t the only people on campus being asked to sacrifice, he said. The roughly 80 nonunion administrators took a pay freeze this year, and all employees on campus will be asked to make the same health-care contribution as the faculty members, Schulick said.

The average annual faculty salary is $72,213, and faculty members currently pay 1.5 percent of a monthly salary for the family health-care plan. Under the new proposal, that faculty member would contribute 10 percent in year one, and 12 percent and 15 percent in years two and three for health care. The percentage is higher for employees who earn more.

The university said that under the proposal, no executive administrator would pay less than what he or she is paying under the current system. President Cynthia E. Anderson will pay 35 percent of the premium share cost. Employees who earn less would pay a lower percentage.

Schulick said that Anderson’s salary, which Vindicator files show is $375,000 this year, is only a few thousand dollars more than what former President David Sweet earned with all of the allowances in his contract.

The salary was determined by trustees before a president was selected, he said. Anderson also has been very generous to the university, he said.

She donated $100,000 in her parents’ memory to establish student scholarships and an additional $25,000 this year for student initiatives, Schulick said.

While YSU grapples with contract issues, the Senate Bill 5 measure on the November ballot would reduce collective-bargaining rights of public employees. Linkon said that while SB 5 looms, it’s not the primary reason the union decided not to strike Friday.

“This shows why collective bargaining is so important,” Linkon said. Without collective bargaining, the university could impose whatever contract it wanted, she said. The measure also would make university professors nonunion employees.

Melissa Fazekas, a spokeswoman for We Are Ohio, the group urging people to oppose SB 5, said she couldn’t guess one way or another about how a YSU faculty strike might have affected the statewide effort.

“This shows that process does work,” Fazekas said. “They’re coming back to the table and continuing to work for what’s best for the students and the community.”

Connie Wehrkamp, a spokeswoman for Building a Better Ohio, the group that supports SB 5, said the union’s threat to strike demonstrates the problem that the measure would correct.

“These publicly funded professors and educators should educate students and not use them as a bargaining tactic,” she said.

Last week, the university notified students that financial aid and scholarship disbursements had been delayed because the union’s strike notice made the start date of classes uncertain. The university was told by a representative from the U.S. Department of Education to take that action.

Since classes are starting Monday, disbursement of financial aid can begin and students expecting an electronic refund may see funds deposited to their accounts beginning Monday.

For students expecting a check from the university, the checks will be distributed by hand rather than by mail, to allow students to have the checks in their hand more quickly. Students expecting a check from the university may pick up the check from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday or from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday in the Ohio Room in Kilcawley Center. Any checks not picked up by noon Tuesday will be mailed that day.


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

These Trustees do their work for nothing ! As if they are a volunteering for nothing . I don't believe that for one second. Hey Youngstown just shut the doors period ! I'm a tax payer and in my opinion there are too many colleges in the State of Ohio ! And the Nation. We pay to educate with all kinds of programs Pell Grants for one. What is given back to the Tax Payer ? Tang from outer space !

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Take the YSU offer or leave YSU Professors. Plenty of others with advanced degrees would accept your job at the YSU offer. The vast majority of taxpayers have had enough of you union thugs and will support SB5 in November to end this BS by you.

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3sewingnut(33 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

How about having to pay 50% of the cost of your health insurance premium? Which in my case amounts to $500 per month. On top of that, 15% co-insurance plus all applicable co-pays. Not to mention a $5000 to $7000 out of pocket catastrophic. Now, lets talk about no eye or dental insurance. YSU profs need to get their heads out of the clouds and look at the reality of what the people around them in this valley already pay.

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4db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Full time YSU professors at YSU earn $121,158 a year for working only 9 months and spending only 6 hours a week in the classroom (the Vindy's statement of an average of $72k includes the parking lot attendants & cleaning help); and that pay comes from student tuition and our tax dollars. These OEA union teachers don't know how overpaid they are. If they really think they're not paid well enough, quit. It's a free country; let them see what a jellybean degrees in philosophy, music appreciation, african studies, and art history are worth in the real world. They're barely qualified for "would you like fries with that?" or greeting customers with "welcome to WalMart".

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5Attis(1030 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Either the USA will destroy ignorance, or ignorance will destroy the USA. This clueless board and arrogant administration are doing a great job making sure that ignorance triumphs in this neck of the woods.

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6AtownAugie(820 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Whoa now: "The strike that was to begin Friday was called off after leadership learned from other labor experts that they had more options...." ??? And yet the person pulling the puppet strings, Coordinator of the Labor Studies Program at YSU, husband of the union spokeswoman Sherry Linkon, the self-professed labor expert John Russo didn't know this?! And this is *after* he said on WKBN that "I've been told I'd make over $200,000 in the private sector." Doctor John? After reading this you can tell people "I've read fhat I'm not worth two cents in the private -- or public -- sector. Other than for being an agitator."

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7misterlee(118 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Db: that 72k figure does not include parking lot staff and cleaning crews. That's just professors. YSU profs receive average pay for profs at a state university in Ohio. And not all of them teach "jellybean" (whatever the f$&@ that means) classes. Most of you arguing againstthe teachers just seem jealous that they've worked so hard to get were they are and get paid more than you for it. If you think they get paid well get a PhD and find a job at a university.
Also, Vindy, stop repeating the admin's lie about being told by DoE they couldn't disputed the aid money. The DoE never told them that. It was just a way to gain more leverage over the faculty and it's absolutely disgusting.

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8Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You need to do nothing more then to look at the picture to see who is wrong .
Vote no on SB5 and that will be a vote for America

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9franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Yawn, I don't know a single prof at YSU that makes $121 k and once again, faculty are taxpayers too. Also, taxpayer monies (state funds) account for only around 10 percent of the salary paid to faculty, and they are paying 2.75 percent of this back to the City of Youngstown right off the bat, BEFORE the federal and state taxes that we all pay here in the USA.
Also, notice how the university has not released enrollment numbers for Fall? Search the good old Vindy archives and you will find that in previous years, they've always made these numbers public around Aug. 25. Just sayin...

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10db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Ohio State University published the 2010-11 salaries of all of Ohio's professor salaries at every Ohio university and... YSU full-time professors average $121,158 a year. Some YSU profs are receiving over $160,000, some "only" $98k, but they average $121,158. This does not include extra pay for working summers and is solely for working 9 months a year. So, the union folks and the Vindy's statements that they are receiving 'only' $76k a year are false. BTW, teachers/professors claim everyone is jealous of them; no, we are simply outraged that these folks aren't happy with their bloated pay & benefits which are being partially or wholly paid from our taxes. Maybe they need to enter the private sector for a reality check.

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11DOLE2(595 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

OH BOO HOO ....Without a raise i'll have to sell my new Landrover and Striesand tickets.

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12db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

No more OEA union misinformation. Google: 2010-11 Ohio Universities Faculty Salary Survey - see for yourself!

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13franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

LOL Really? Landrovers and Streisand? Try Cobalts and the YSU Penguins.

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14Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

HI pro/usa . see you are still full of hate and misinformation . I'm surprised the Vindy let you back on .

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15franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

And yet the dominant rhetoric is corporations= good= unions bad. I wonder how many corporations, maybe even in our valley, are subsidized by taxpayers in all forms; tax abatements, tax waivers, no interest loans, etc. Shouldn't we taxpayers know what the workers and execs of these companies make and shouldn't we be bashing them if they make more than the average Mahoning Valley worker?

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16outoftownbutstillaround(16 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I have not seen the data, so forgive me if I am out of line but...

Please keep in mind that most YSU 'teachers' are not professors. They are likely assistant or associate professors and there is a substantial pay difference. I would guess the average 'teacher' makes about $55,000.

To become a full professor is an accomplishment few achieve, and it is rarely bestowed upon someone who works 6hrs a week, 9 months a year. COLLEGES CREATE TAXPAYERS! Yes, they also use tax money but in our tax and spend system, we need all the benefactors we can educate.

Also, the "private" sector, from small businesses (Small Business Jobs Act) to huge corporations (tax exempt GE), is all mixed up with the government...just like colleges. Reality? Check.

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17Observer123(20 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

db : "Ohio State University published the 2010-11 salaries of all of Ohio's professor salaries at every Ohio university and... YSU full-time professors average $121,158 a year. Some YSU profs are receiving over $160,000, some "only" $98k, but they average $121,158."

Table 1 of that document is salaries - YSU 9 month average = $75,729.

Table 2 is overall compensation, which includes benefits.

I'm sure you didn't mean to twist the figures for political purposes. Thought not.

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18db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

franc, The time is for all unions is over but there's a huge difference between government unions (like the OEA) and private sector unions. I can choose to not buy a Chevrolet when UAW workers make the price too high, I can choose to not hire a builder using $30 per hour union carpenters, BUT I cannot refuse to pay my taxes when government unions inflate their salaries & benefits. I used to enjoy Rusty's Restaurant in Boardman but they have been shut down and the owner prosecuted with jail time for not paying his property taxes. You have no choice with government sector unions; you'll lose your home if you do not pay the tax. Kapisch? All of the government services unions have over-inflated pay & benefits. Retiring in middle age (late 40s) with pay & benefits?? Retired policemen double-dipping by going back to work for the city and now being $100,000+ Youngstown security guards?? This load on the taxpayer's backs is shameful... We taxpayers desperately need SB5 to get these bloated pay & benefit packages back to reality and these YSU professors should be overjoyed with their current pay & benefits.

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19franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

db, see pervious post. Tax dollars account for roughly ten precent of pay, and I think I was asking a simple question--if my tax dollars, which as you point out, I am forced to pay, are going to companies in the form of subsidies, abatements and low interest loans, don't I have the right to know how much their workers and execs make, and should I be complaining that they should not make more than me? And, if I'm arguing that all workers across all sectors should get no more than me, aren't I advocating socialism?

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20db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

observer; read a few pages further on the Ohio State website. The salaries that you quote are averages including assistants and part timers; including the likes of Maynard G. Krebs working in the lab. The actual salaries for each and every professorial sector is listed on the website; no fact twisting needed. The facts are in black & white: full time YSU professors AVERAGE $121,158 for working 9 months out of the year with the entire summer off. Know any other jobs that get three months off every summer (plus holidays, sick days, etc) with pay?? Yep - school teachers (more OEA members).

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21Boar7734(66 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

You can view individual salary, pension and health care at:http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/higher-ed

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22franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Know any other jobs that get three months off every summer (plus holidays, sick days, etc) with pay?

All of your newly elected Tea Party politicians?

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23Observer123(20 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

db - You are obviously not going to let this one go but YSU Full Professors (i.e. top rank, promoted from Assistant through Associate Professor) do not AVERAGE $121,158 in salary.

Full Professors average $93,359

Associate Professors average $74,619

Assistant Professors average $60,929

Those are the facts, from the document you linked to.

Those salaries are significantly lower than the other Masters comprehensive school in Ohio, Wright State. That is a big handicap when the likes of YSU are competing for a national (and increasingly international) pool of candidates for new faculty hires.

We could always get rid of state schools completely of course and just leave it to the already wealthy to get a college education. Maybe that's the plan?

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24db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

franc, your logic is illogical. If a low interest loan is granted by the city, we have a right to question the risk of the business and our repayment risks. Their decisions to run their business are not within our control and should not be. YSU is not a private company and is not seeking a tax-payer funded low-interest loan or concession. YSU is a state owned and state funded school. You have no right to equate your pay with other fields but when the business has a deficit (YSU's is $1,700,000 this year) do you as a taxpayer feel obligated to give their staff a pay raise? Do you really think an average YSU professor merits $121,000 a year for working only 9 months - and should be threatening a strike & closing down the school?? This is not socialism by any stretch; I simply think government sector unions have made many kickback deals with Democratic politicians trading pay for votes that we taxpayers are paying for and that are bankrupting our state, our cities, and us.

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25misterlee(118 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Db, profs may only be IN CLASS 6 hours a week but their jobs entail a lot more than just being in class. Have you ever attended college? Do you understand how a university works? Also they don't all take the entire 3 months off. I work on campus and can assure you that profs are on campus even during the summer when they aren't teaching classes. They do research work, write lesson plans, prepare lectures, advise students, hold office hours, reply to dozens of emails and phone calls a day, and grade papers and tests. Like I've said before if their jobs are so easy get a PhD and a tenured position at a university. It must be easy to do right? Get your head out of the governors behind and look at reality for once.

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26misterlee(118 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Republicans have never done anything they can't pay for to gain votes right? Those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were paid for right? They didn't add trillions to the national debt right?

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27Education_Voter(1014 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I do have a hard time paying tuition, but I choose YSU instead of, say, an internet college because of quality.

It doesn't bother me that some people who provide a service to me, make more money than me.

My doctor makes more money than me. My lawyer makes more money than me. My auto mechanic is really affluent with a box at Covelli and a big suburban house. My stock broker makes more money than me.

Choosing people who make less than me would mean choosing less than the best. (In my case, for sure!)
YSU is one of the last best things in town. That is because of the instructional staff. Let's keep it competitive for faculty.

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28valleyred(1102 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

People bring up the Bush tax cuts and say they are all for the rich. They are ignorant because the Bush tax cuts greatly expanded the child tax credit for American families.

But once again fellow writers, the 'intellectual liberals' are right and the conservatives are wrong.

There is no reasoning with these people. You post facts, but then you are degraded for posting them... None of them want to mention their sweetheart 9.5% raises during the recession.... N-O-N-E O-F T-H-E-M!

Don't back down Board of Trustees! You are doing the right job!

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29southsidedave(5159 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Most of the comments are so negative. I will be glad when this issue is settled so all of you angry people can pick on someone else.

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30Observer123(20 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

VR - you do realise that those negotiated raises were an attempt to bring YSU faculty salaries up to par with other institutions?

From the OSU document cited above, salaries are still below par. So they must have been pretty low before that so-called "sweetheart" raise.

You are obviously a free market capitalist and you know that you get what you pay for.

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31franc004(71 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

red, I'll mention them--those raises were based mostly on longevity and they were not 9.5 percent, (at least not to my knowledge) so the lower paid, newer faculty did not get anything near that amount ( I think it was maybe 3 percent and many actually got bumped down because the admin took away what's called compression)--those lower paid junior faculty would be the ones hit hardest again by this proposal, and these are the ones who will be charged with fulfilling the "urban research mission" From a "business" standpoint this seems a silly move, because you'll be trying to get talent for one of the lowest paid, highest workload universities, in an area that offers little in terms of the quality of life factors studies show are increasingly important to young professionals. This means that quality will suffer and so will the students (remember the business adage "you get what you pay for")
I think the current contract is online, so you can research for yourself.
I, for one, am going to quit posting, knowing that no minds are ever really changed on these issues, especially in an age of internet 'facts' and intense partisanship. Just one note on the latter point, The Buckeye Inst, data, which seems to be a favorite source in this debate, is wrong in its calculations of faculty pensions--many faculty are not part of STRS but the database assumes all are, so be careful about the credibility of the source.

Finally, it's a beautiful day today, lets get out and enjoy it. Cheers!

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32Citizensforjustice(13 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Why doesn't Cyndy Anderson do what she is asking the faculty to do? She needs to take a zero percent salary increase in the next three years, pay her fair share percentage of insurance benefits and reduce a portion of her salary (equivalent to the summer months she is being paid) just like she is asking the faculty to take. That would be a fair deal. And while she is doing that, impose the same terms on all of the administration before asking the faculty to take something similar.

Oh, that's right, it would affect her retirement to take the reduction. She only wants to harm the faculty, not herself or her overpaid, underworked administration. Get rid of some of the fat at the top from the double and tripple dippers.

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33ytown_kills_me(67 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Y.S.U has always stood to me for You Suck U..what a waste of money..i would'nt send a chimpanze to that dump

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34misterlee(118 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Ytownkillsme: judging by your grammar you might be one of the few people YSU would reject

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35ytown_kills_me(67 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

oh did i offend a loser from you suck u..and i didnt realize the grammar police patrolled these boards ..get a life you ysu graduated loser

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36Klink(36 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

For someone with a Doctorate Degree, $121,000 isn't that great of a compensation package with the years of school involved and the likely loans to pay off. Heck, I only have a B.S.B.A. from YSU and make that much in total compensation.

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37mark(60 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if it ever occurred to anyone complaining about YSU faculty wages that those wages pay local taxes and contribute to the local economy. If you think we would be better off without the money that those jobs contribute to our struggling economy, let's pay everyone in the Valley $7.40 per hour and see how long local businesses last before their customers can't afford to shop, eat, drive to, or patronize these businesses anymore. Only then, when all Mahoning Valley residents are living below the poverty line and unemployed will the trolls of vindy.com be satisfied.

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38TonyL(44 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

These are the big fat cats that Obama wants to tax! The University is operating on a $1.7 million operating deficit and the union wants more money. These people don't understand that there will be no more government subsidies. Like Obama said, "Everyone must do their part" and it means these teachers who are making $125,000 for 9 months of work.

Social Security hasn't given me a cost of living raise since Obama took office and he wants to take more off of me. Where is my union?

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39Citizensforjustice(13 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

The administration is who wants more money...more money...more money. They should set the example and take an equal pay cut that they want the faculty to take. They are all walking away with their hidden increases proclaiming they will freeze their salary when no one is minding the store.

I don't believe they have an operating deficit, I do believe there is no one at the institution than can compute accurately. It started out at a 9 million deficit. Now it's 1.7 million according to their latest claim. And what number is that based on? Is it a conservative estimate of student enrollment so that it appears that they will have a deficit? My guess is it's just one more smoke screen to keep the public in the dark.

The faculty are the ones educating the students. They should not be taking a pay cut.

It seems to me the Fact Finder had the information to make an informed decision that none of us can make sitting on the sidelines, We can ask the questions that the administration needs to be held accountable to answer. The faculty reluctantly accepted the FF recommendation. When the Board refused to accept this they proved that they want ot punish the faculty, not support them.

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40TonyL(44 comments)posted 4 years, 2 months ago

Why do you say, YSU faculty should not do their part to save our country from bankruptcy. Are they better then us that they shouldn't give up anything?

The nation's average wage for a college teacher is a little over $50,000 per year while, the average salary of a YSU faculty member is $72,213 per year. It is no wonder YSU has a deficit, its teachers are over paid!

Now, the teacher's union is going to wait before striking so students can get student aide and then go on strike to get what they want. It is just another way defraud the taxpayer. Talk about a bunch of cheats!

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