YSU board ratifies ACE contract


By Justin Wier

jwier@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees ratified the first agreed-upon contract between the university and its Association of Classified Employees union in several years at Thursday’s board meeting.

“I’m hoping with contract ratifications, we’re turning a corner, and things are looking brighter,” YSU-ACE President Connie Frisby said at a Wednesday committee meeting.

The last time the parties entered negotiations, the board voted in May 2015 to implement the contract despite the union’s overwhelming rejection.

This time, the union, which had been working without a contract since August, voted to approve the contract.

The new contract applies retroactively to Aug. 16 and extends through Aug. 15, 2020.

“We appreciate the effort of both the administrative and the classified employees’ negotiating teams to develop a contract that is very forward-looking,” YSU President James P. Tressel said.

YSU released a summary of the new contract’s details Thursday, which impacts 265 university employees including accountants, carpenters, electricians, custodians, clerks, secretaries and others across all university departments.

The parties will receive a general increase to all union employees of 12 cents an hour in year one, 47 cents an hour in year two and 12 cents an hour in year three.

The agreement also establishes a new pay schedule where new employees begin at a rate determined by a market analysis of the Youngstown area and receive 1.5 percent raises at the first-, second- and third-year anniversary of their employment.

A market study of 265 current employees found the vast majority – 244 – receive pay above market rates. The contract will bring the five found to earn below market rate up to that rate. The remaining 16 employees received pay at the market rate.

The agreement includes several other provisions, including that beginning July 1, ACE members will pay 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums. It also allows union members to cash out up to 24 hours of unused vacation leave before the end of the current fiscal year.

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