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Faculty union says YSU’s reference to small schools isn’t fair comparison

Published: Fri, September 9, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By jeanne starmack



Youngstown State University’s faculty union says the administration is unfairly comparing the university to small, private schools to make a case that the faculty is not underpaid.

A YSU spokesman contends that comparison is only part of the picture that the university presented in fact-finding.

As the administration and the YSU chapter of the OEA go back into talks today, the union is complaining that the administration selected only data that made its case in the fact-finding process.

The university offered a list of schools that offer master’s programs in Ohio. Out of 11 schools on that list, only YSU is a larger public university. The others are small, private colleges ranging in enrollment from 1,545 to 11,119, and their average salaries are less than YSU’s, said Sherry Linkon, spokeswoman for the OEA.

YSU’s enrollment is 15,084.

Linkon said in the spring, negotiating teams for both sides agreed to a different list of comparable schools. That list included master’s program schools and others, including Bowling Green and Kent State universities, from throughout the country.

The union says that if the university had used that list, it would have shown that the YSU faculty isn’t making as much money as the average.

The average salary for full professors from the list of small, private Ohio schools is $81,200. The salary average for the list that includes schools nationwide is $95,600. At YSU, the average is $93,400.

“It’s in the administration’s best interest to make a case that we are not underpaid,” Linkon said Thursday.

She said it looks logical on the surface to use the comparison of YSU to other Ohio schools offering master’s programs.

“But the Ohio IIA’s [schools that offer master’s programs] are not like YSU,” she said, adding that they have “different missions.”

Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, said there are many ways to devise a list of comparable schools.

“You look at schools categorized by independent agencies,” he said Thursday.

The Ohio IIA schools and also IIA schools nationwide are included in the American Association of University Professors Faculty Salary Survey.

He also said the list of Ohio IIA schools was presented in the fact-finding process as only one part of an overall picture.

“This is not the only list that went before the fact finder,” he said. He said there were other comparative data presented to Howard D. Silver of Columbus that show where the university ranks nationally in salaries.

“To raise this as an issue hours before we’re going to sit down only clouds the situation,” he said.

Both sides meet at 10 a.m. today in Cushwa Hall.

Talks resumed last Friday, the first set of negotiations since the union voted to strike but then backed down. Negotiators are sitting down today for the second time since then.

The 400-plus-member union, on Aug. 26, rejected what the university called its last and best offer of no raises in the first and second years of the contract and 2 percent in the third.

The offer called for a reduction in summer-school pay from 3.75 percent of faculty members’ nine-month salary per credit hour to teach a summer course to 3 percent of their nine-month salary per credit hour. The offer also called for faculty members’ paying 10 percent of the health-insurance premium the first year, 12 percent the second year and 15 percent the third year.

Faculty members paid 1.5 percent of their salary for health insurance for a family plan and 0.75 percent of their salary for a single plan under the old contract, which expired Aug. 17.

Faculty salary minimums are $75,674 for professors, $64,215 for associate professors, $51,238 for assistant professors and $38,689 for instructors.

Salaries range from $39,832 to $161,321. The average salary for a faculty union member is $72,213.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The Greedy and Selfish union!

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2vindysucks(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Get your facts right - the faculty paid1.5% and 0.75% of their SALARY for family and single health care plans, respectively. Not a percentage of their plan cost. Big difference.
It's truly sad when the local newspaper presents information to the public through their biased filter. That's what editorials are for. Present the news as it is, Vindy.

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3msweetwood(173 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Vindy: You are right: As we have reported many times over, the words "of their salary" was omitted. it has now been fixed online.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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4Spiderlegs(152 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Independent of what one thinks about YSU faculty, the criticism of the faculty about the administration's use of small private colleges as benchmarks is fair. The university's institutional research office already has a list of universities that are used in benchmarking performance. I can see not comparing YSU to Ohio State or Kent (or MIT, Stanford, etc.), but the common practice is to compare with like institutions and the administration has already has a list of schools having similar characteristics. Otherwise, YSU administration could use a low-quality, for-profit institution like the University of Phoenix as a model and just make everybody an adjunct, in which case YSU should just close the doors.

You can find the peers online at:

The situation obviously has to go to federal mediation or arbitration, because it is clear that the administration is no longer negotiating in good faith.

(Keep in mind that the state's proposal for entrepreneural colleges and universities may require YSU to RAISE its standards to compete.)

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5Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

If some here think so little of the YSU faculty. Why in the world would you go to or send your kids to YSU. Maybe you should go to a school with low paid faculty. I'm sure they will get a better education .

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6Westsider(243 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

At least the faculty have jobs, benefits and a generous pension plan. Many people do not. They should be grateful

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7piak(508 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

It isn't what we think of the faculty; it's what we think of their pay and perks.

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8southsidedave(5074 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Yet more strife. When will it end?

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9NoBS(2235 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Well, then, piak, send your kids (or yourself) to one of those tiny, private schools the YSU administration wants to use as a comparable. Maybe the administration's salary should be based on those same comparables they want to use against the faculty.

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