YSU approves pact with classified employees

YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees has approved a new three-year contract with the university’s 169-member Association of Classified Employees union.

During a quarterly meeting Wednesday in Tod Hall, trustees unanimously approved the agreement after ACE members had ratified the contract Monday. Of the 128 union members who voted, 92, or about 73%, voted in favor of the agreement, Melanie Leonard, union president and chief negotiator, said.

The union’s current three-year pact expired Aug. 15 after about two months of negotiations.

The pact includes 2 percent pay raises for each year of the agreement and a $1,000 cash bonus in the first year, as well as $500 bonuses in its second and third years, according to a YSU news release.

Also, contributions to health care insurance premiums will remain the same for the contract’s first year, then increase 1 percent in each of the remaining two years, along with health plan design changes beginning in the second year, the release states.

“We are pleased with the hard work and dedication that both negotiating teams brought to the table,” Michael Peterson, board of trustees chairman, said. “This agreement reflects our commitment to fostering a collaborative and supportive environment at YSU. It is a testament to the values we hold dear, including the centrality of students, excellence and innovation.”

ACE union members include information-technology and maintenance personnel, business operations specialists and groundskeepers.


Also at the session, interim President Helen K. Lafferty announced that this semester’s total enrollment is 10,993, which is a 0.7 percent decrease in the headcount of 11,072 in the fall 2022 semester.

The number of undergraduate students in the same period dropped 4.8 percent from 8,920 last year to 8,492 this semester. Nevertheless, the university has seen a 16% uptick in the number of graduate students, from 2,152 last fall semester to 2,501 this year, Becky Rose, director of marketing and communications, noted.

The numbers are based on a 14th-day enrollment count as mandated by the Ohio Education Association, Lafferty added.

Wednesday also marked the first trustees meeting for Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata, who in May had been named National / Global trustee and will serve in that capacity through 2026, as well as for Natalie Dando, who Gov. Mike DeWine had appointed to serve as student trustee through April 2025.

Linsalata served the YSU Foundation from 2007 to this year, including two years as board chairwoman, and is a longtime member of its board of trustees. In addition, she was chairwoman of the foundation’s “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign.

Dando, a YSU junior and chemical engineering student, also is a community fellow in the Sokolov Honors College, leads the YSU Penguin Pen Pal program and has organized volunteer opportunities for honor students.


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