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YSU faculty union president asks Jim Tressel to step in

Published: Thu, August 7, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

President’s input would be against law, YSU says

By Denise Dick



Youngstown State University’s faculty union leader wrote to President Jim Tressel that she’s disappointed in his lack of effort to stand behind faculty, and asked him to step in and help with protracted negotiations.

The faculty contract expires Aug. 17, the day before Tressel’s installation ceremony. Negotiations have been ongoing for weeks. Negotiations continue with the Association of Classified Employees. That union’s pact expires Aug. 15.

“I am sure you have been made aware of how [bad] negotiations were last evening,” Annette Burden, president of the YSU-Ohio Education Association, wrote in a Wednesday email to Tressel that was obtained by The Vindicator. “In an effort to get a tentative agreement and start work on time, our team gave up a great deal. Sadly, it is never enough for your team or the Board of Trustees.”

Classes begin Aug. 20.

Ron Cole, YSU spokesman, said state law on collective bargaining stipulates that only negotiating team members for the respective parties are permitted to talk about negotiations.

“The president is not going to insert himself, and nobody else is going to insert themselves into that process,” he said.

That will be left to members of the university’s bargaining team, Cole said.

“We all understand there are significant financial challenges facing the university,” he said. “It’s fair to say that we’re hopeful and confident the parties will come together in a mutually respectful and constructive manner and meet as soon as possible and as often as possible to complete the task. We’re going to allow the negotiating teams to do what they do.”

Burden’s email said the attorney for the university and the faculty union’s lead negotiator met Tuesday in a “last-ditch effort to resolve remaining issues,” but after about an hour, the faculty negotiator returned “with nothing more than your team’s request for more givebacks.

“Our team discussed the issues and offered up some alternatives, which were promptly refused. At 9:30 p.m. we offered them one last chance to try to resolve these issues, but they would not budge and we left. I see no hope for a good outcome.”

The last faculty contract was concessionary, and in facing three more years of givebacks, Burden says her members are “feeling demoralized, disillusioned, disrespected and unappreciated.”

Most are facing a 6 percent salary decrease over three years, she said.

“Adding this to the hit they took over the last three years, it is not surprising that I have not seen them this angry since 2005,” the union president wrote.

The faculty and ACE unions both staged brief strikes that year.

“At our last faculty update meeting, many faculty said that they would be updating their vitae and looking to leave,” Burden’s email says. “New faculty have told me that they are sorry they chose to come here. Older faculty are expressing sentiments of disbelief that their years of service to YSU mean so little.”

She says that none of the university’s financial issues is going to improve unless the financial managers — whom she contends are unable to separate their needs from their wants — alter their spending habits.

“I have asked you numerous times to meet with me and our forensic accountant to discuss some of these issues. You have continually ignored my request, with a response that ‘we are close,’” Burden’s email to Tressel says. “I now ask you, close to what??? I stuck my neck out to endorse you as YSU President, but right now, I must say that I am feeling quite disappointed in what I see as a lack of effort to stand behind your faculty. If there was ever a time to step in and get faculty behind you, it is now. Please help me to help them.”


1YtownSports(278 comments)posted 1 year ago

Should have made Obama the President of YSU. He could just issue an executive order to resolve it all.
My first question, though, is "how does the 6% pay cut the faculty is being asked to take over 3 years compare to compensation cuts (if any) in the administrative staff and to the spending cuts on non-personnel related expenditures over the same time period?" If there are substantial differences to the disadvantage of faculty, then Mr. Cole and his group need to step up with a more equitable proposal. If everyone is "going to feel the pain" equally, then the union needs to cool the rhetoric and get back to work.

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2lemmingsfollowblindly(97 comments)posted 1 year ago

The Youngstown State Univers
ity community was deeply shaken by separate strike
actions voted by classified employees and by
faculty members in August 2005. Although these
strikes were settled in
time so that fall semester classes we
re able to begin as scheduled on
August 29, 2005, it was apparent to all parties that
the unsuccessful contract negotiations that
preceded these strikes reflected
profound and longstanding issues
in labor-management relations
on the campus. Th
e aftermath of the strike
demonstrated a palpably ad
verse impact on employee
morale and deep-seated resentments that con
tinue to exist amongst university employees.

Read the report pretty clear


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3lemmingsfollowblindly(97 comments)posted 1 year ago

Here is a perfect example

2. Do not include lawyers on the negotiating
teams. The Panel believes the campus
contains the necessary interest an
d talent to successfully
negotiate labor agreem
ents. The cost of
retaining outside counsel has also
become a burden fo
r the University. Th
e use of external
counsel as chief negotiator in one
set of negotiations a
nd not the other was in
terpreted as another
manifestation of the admini
stration’s lack of respect
for classified employees.
3. Open the University’s economic circumst
ances to scrutiny from all parties well
before negotiations commence.
Greater transparency of fina
ncial information and, hopefully,
agreement on what it means, needs to be r
eached before contract
proposals are prepared.

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4thirtyninedollars(526 comments)posted 1 year ago

They make plenty enough. Ohio is broke and the school is funded via the state and tuition which by the way keeps increasing.
What value are the students getting out of the increases? None that I see except overpaid presidents and faculty.
Let them go on strike for the entire year.
I for one would be glad to see less traffic downtown in the coming months.

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5steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

I wish Tressel would step in and tell the faculty that they have got all they are going to get. They have milked the cow dry. If they must strike, so be it, but we just aren't getting the kind of enrollment that we need to support the salary and fringe package that you want, regardless of how much the faculty is being paid at other Universities.

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6walter_sobchak(2258 comments)posted 1 year ago

Thanks for the link to the report. As a taxpaying "outsider" from YSU, I would like to know how many of the recommendations were implemented in the past ten years? I assume some of the names have changed but some items in the report seem like common sense. Especially using the President in negotiations. In addition, times are different with respect to some items, like health-care premium co-pays. That ship has sailed.

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7DwightK(1384 comments)posted 1 year ago

YSU needs a tuition freeze for multiple years in order to attract students. The faculty and non-faculty staff should do what's needed to make that happen. If it means a wage freeze or a change in benefits, then that needs to happen.

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8Tigerlily(506 comments)posted 1 year ago

Um, if people want YSU to freeze tuition, then they need to vote out Kasich in November. He is the person who has defunded education year after year in Ohio. He is the reason why YSU has a deficit this large. Someone further up in the comments says that the university is funded by the state. They are wrong. The state barely funds 20% of the budget at this point, and not four years ago, it funded 80%. Do the math, idiots. Your conservative governor SUCKS.

And the employees of YSU, as well as the students (by way of rising tuition to cover the loss of state funding), all pay for it in the end.

Your governor is robbing the state blind.

And you all think it's some employees. Your brain is made for analysis. USE IT.

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9steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

I just love these arguments that Kasich should give YSU more and more money. Typical Youngstown, gimmee, gimmee, gimmee.

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10jmagaratz(183 comments)posted 1 year ago

Disgruntled faculty need to answer one question: "how badly do I need my job?" If things are so bad at YSU, they need to do the honorable thing and that is vacate their positions.

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11DwightK(1384 comments)posted 1 year ago

Well, Kasich did grab a bunch of money that should go to local government and education and squirrel it away in the rainy day fund. There's nothing wrong with asking that the tax money we send Columbus be returned for use by the tax payers.

I have a feeling he's doing this so that in 2016 he can say he made Ohio solvent and lowered state taxes so he can be the VP candidate of the GOP.

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12harleydog(243 comments)posted 1 year ago

Yea tigerlily, lets go back to Strickland when he nearly bankrupted the state. Everyone thinks that the government should pay for everything. Handouts, that's all you want. Typical Obama lover.

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13lemmingsfollowblindly(97 comments)posted 1 year ago

Walter you may not want to know...will just pee you off more..... but here goes...

1 Habat left YSU but they paid him and his health care for almost a year after he left..
2 chapman moved on too I believe

Ms Domhoff received her job back But then they Spent several hundred thousand dollars to try and ruin Mr maldonado and his family.. (for the record he was acquitted of any crimes) A arbitrator ruled in his favor too ordering the university to return him to his employment effective July 1 2014.. Saying all the administrations witnesses lacked credibility.....

Still use a 165.00 per hr lawyer

Audit?? or transparency.. No thanks they passed on that one too...

As for the other items Lets just say very little change took place. Still using the same management negotiating team that was the root of the 2005 problems

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14steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

If it is that bad why don't you get a job somewhere else.

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15jojuggie(1608 comments)posted 1 year ago

There goes gdog again "the nation was in a horrible recession caused bu your dumass party."

Again he doesn't know what he is talking about. He doesn't realize that in the last TWO YEARS of the Bush adm. The Dems ruled both houses. Pelosi & Reid the House & Senate respectively. Barney Frank was head of the House Financial Services Committee, & Chris Dodd was head of the Senate Financial Services Committee. What in the H*** do you expect from a quartet like this?

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16lemmingsfollowblindly(97 comments)posted 1 year ago

I would gladly take your advise but there is not much demand for 77 year old RETIRED Pipe Fitter with bad hips ..besides there is never a porta-potty close enough at this age...

I do hate to see all the facts go unreported..If you don't like whats written here read something else

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17papa1(711 comments)posted 1 year ago

Younstown Sports, this isn' about Obama numbnuts. keep your numbskull opines on the right topic. as far as tressel goes, what's he gonna do when wolford wants his help?? the ncaa will have his backside.

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18steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

Its not about Kasich either, but that doesn't stop the left wing loonies.

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19jojuggie(1608 comments)posted 1 year ago

Hey papa, when some leftwing nut brings up something he knows nothing about, you don't let it go unanswered.

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20Agricola(1 comment)posted 1 year ago

What I find amazing, moving here 15 years ago, is how provincial Youngstown is. Many local people still believe the planet is flat.

As for tuition, I have no problem seeing the tuition rise. If you think it is too much to attend YSU, perhaps U. of Miami (Oxford Ohio) would be more suited--the highest tuition in the state.

I would be more concerned about Board of Trustees who don't understand Research and Scholarship parts of a Faculty member's workload. Without Research and Scholarship, we wouldn't have found Cancer Drugs, Polio Vaccine, Nuclear technology, and that the planet rotates around the sun, and isn't flat. I suppose y'all think Gallileo is still a heretic for suggesting that the planet rotates around the sun.

You really are a small grain in the larger place of the world. Time to grow up and take part in Ohio.

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21steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

"Research and Scholarship" = Alibi for unaccounted time on payroll.

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22Tigerlily(506 comments)posted 1 year ago

steivo = idiot who does not know his state's local governmental history, but has lots of feelings about it all anyway.

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23steivo(540 comments)posted 1 year ago

Tigerlily = Feeds at public trough

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24Tigerlily(506 comments)posted 1 year ago

steivo, just giving more evidence regarding how much you assume all kinds of things without knowing anything at all.

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