By Amanda Tonoli
An amended fact finder’s report may be satisfactory to the Youngstown State University faculty union.
Five of six faculty union negotiation team members said at a meeting Monday afternoon they would vote in favor of the amended fact finder’s report.
“If the faculty votes this down, one of two things happens: We go back to the table and say, ‘Faculty doesn’t like this,’ or if we can’t do that, the other thing is a strike,” said Jamal Tartir, union chief negotiator and mathematics and statistics professor. “I, as a member of this team and as faculty, am OK with this [amended] fact finder’s report. I’m going to vote in favor of this.”
The union unanimously voted in favor of a strike authorization at an Aug. 22 meeting. The authorization gives the union the option to call for a 10-day strike notice. The old contract expired Aug. 23.
Tartir was joined by Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, AJ Sumell, Steven Reale and Michael Pontikos, who said they will vote in favor of the amended report.
“This is not everything that I wanted, but it’s a significant step in the right direction,” said Summell, union president and economics professor. “We live to fight another day.”
Remaining member Jeanine Mincher, associate professor of human ecology, said she wanted to discuss the matter more fully with her fellow team members.
Fact finder and lawyer Susan Grody Ruben of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals of Cleveland issued the original fact finder’s report Sept. 12.
The amended report is the result of changes made during an emergency meeting called Friday afternoon. The changes include summer compensation and base-salary increases.
The amended report now reads faculty pay increases of 2 percent this year and 2.5 percent in each of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
Summer compensation in the amended report states: “Faculty teaching undergraduate courses with enrollment of 15 or more students, or graduate or swing courses with enrollment of nine or more students, shall receive $2,250 per credit hour.
“Faculty teaching undergraduate courses with enrollment of 11 to 14 students, or graduate or swing courses with enrollment of seven or eight students, shall receive $1,900 per credit hour. Faculty teaching undergraduate courses with enrollment of 10 or fewer students, or graduate or swing courses with enrollment of six or fewer students, shall receive $1,550 per credit hour.”
In addition, faculty will receive Academic Rank Bonuses in the 2017-18 academic year equivalent to $1,000 for professors; $750 for associate professors; $650 for assistant professors; and $500 for instructors.
The original report’s salary-increase recommendation called for 2 percent increases each year for the three-year faculty contract.
“YSU professor salaries are at the very low end for both Ohio public universities and for comparable institutions,” Grody said in her report. “YSU professor salaries have not even kept up with the rate of inflation.”
Grody’s report continues to say a 2 percent raise each year would both balance YSU’s budgetary needs and make salaries more competitive.
The union proposed the rate of inflation plus 2, 2.5 and 2.5 percent increases over the pact. The YSU administration proposal was 1 percent each year.
Other aspects of the original report included changes to salary minimums for ranks and insurance contributions.
The fact finder’s report recommended eliminating the role of instructors and creating senior lecturers and lecturers and establishing new salary minimums for all five ranks.
The salary minimums include $78,474 for professors; $67,015 for associate professors; $54,038 for assistant professors; $47,500 for senior lecturers; and $41,489 for lecturers.
The union proposed the above salaries with the exception of the senior lecturers, which was proposed to be $46,300.
YSU administration proposed salaries of $47,500 for senior lecturers and $38,689 for lecturers.
Salary minimums in the expired contract are $75,674 for professors; $64,215 for associate professors; $51,238 for assistant professors; and $38,689 for instructors.
The fact finder’s report sided with the university proposal of moving to a flat 15 percent for health-care contribution from employees starting the second year of the contract.
The faculty union proposed decreasing employee contributions from 15 percent to 12 percent.
Faculty union members are expected to complete voting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
YSU’s trustee board also is having a special meeting on the report at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.