By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University trustees approved new three-year pacts with the university’s faculty and classified unions with one vote against the faculty agreement.
Scott R. Schulick voted in favor of the contract with the Association of Classified Employees union at a special trustees meeting Wednesday but against the pact with the YSU Chapter of the Ohio Education Association.
He was opposed to a memorandum of understanding as part of the faculty contract regarding health care. Initially, the faculty union was offered the same health-care provision as agreed to by the ACE union but turned it down, he said.
The union then came up with a health-care proposal, and the university agreed to that. That’s what was taken to the faculty membership and ratified, Schulick said.
The memorandum, however, calls for the health-care provisions that the faculty initially had rejected, Schulick said.
“I guess what dismays me is after looking everything over, they decided that their proposal was inferior to our proposal,” Schulick said. “Now their executive team, which is empowered to do so, has decided they want a different deal. I have a problem with that personally.”
He said he was prepared to vote in favor of the contract before being presented with the memorandum.
“What disappoints me is the process and procedure,” Schulick said.
He questions if the university had changed its mind about something after negotiations, would the union have agreed.
Union officials couldn’t be reached to comment.
Both the ACE and faculty contracts call for members to pay 10 percent of the health-care premium beginning Jan. 1, 12 percent beginning July 1 and 15 percent beginning July 1, 2013.
Previously, they contributed 1.5 percent of their base salary for family health insurance or 0.75 percent for individual coverage.
Additionally, if an employee’s spouse is eligible to participate in a group medical or prescription-drug insurance program from his or her employer, the spouse must enroll for at least single coverage.
Both contracts also call for no base-pay raises in the first two years with a 2 percent raise the third and final year.
The minimum nine-month salaries for faculty union members are $75,674 for professors, $64,215 for associate professors, $51,238 for assistant professors and $38,689 for instructors.
The pact also reduces summer-school pay from 3.75 percent of a faculty member’s nine-month salary per credit hour to 3.25 percent of the salary per credit hour. It caps the salary amount upon which that calculation is based at $80,000. There was no cap in the just-expired contract.
The ACE union includes secretaries, administrative assistants, maintenance workers, groundskeepers, librarians and others. Their hourly pay ranges from $12.36 to $30.25.
The trustees’ vote brings to a close what has been a sometimes-contentious period between the university and its faculty union.
The episode started in August when the union accepted and trustees rejected a fact finder’s report that made recommendations for a new contract.
The university presented what it termed a final and best offer after more negotiations failed to produce an agreement. The union rejected that proposal and initially announced in late August its plans to strike the following day.
Later that same night, though, they changed course, saying they wouldn’t strike and wanted to return to the negotiating table.
The two sides hashed out an agreement a couple of days after YSU reached a tentative agreement with ACE.
The faculty union approved the contract proposal late last month.
Sudershan Garg, YSU trustees chairman, said he appreciates the work of the administration’s bargaining team as well as the unions. Now that the contracts are settled, he said, it’s time to move forward.
“I think time will heal the wounds,” Garg said.
Trustee Harry Meshel, who returned to campus for Wednesday’s meeting after a long illness, also credited YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson for her work on the contract.