Youngstown school board finalizes YEA contract

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Education Association teachers union finally has a finalized contract.

Almost halfway through the one-year contract the union and Youngstown City School District ratified in September, and just a few months away from beginning negotiations on a new one, the school board on Friday provided a completed document to the union.

The contract, which gave teachers a 3% pay increase, and removed language leftover from House Bill 70 — which allowed the State of Ohio to take over the school district, but was nullified in 2022 — was ratified on Sept. 18, four weeks to the day after the union voted to strike, delaying the start of the 2023-24 school year by a month.

In late October, however, the district still had not adjusted teachers’ income to reflect the wage increase they agreed upon. Teachers did not receive the back pay until mid-November.

The three-year contract between YEA and YCSD expired on June 30. Union leaders said they had tried for months to engage the district in negotiations, but talks only began in the week or two preceding the new school year.

As quickly as talks began, though, they seemed to break down. On Aug. 11, the union issued a 10-day strike notice. During the week of Aug. 14, negotiators on both sides met Aug. 14, 17 and 18, but came away with nothing to show for it. YEA members gathered at Mill Creek Community Center on Aug. 21 and voted overwhelmingly to strike.

On Aug. 23, what should have been the first day of classes, a science teacher was struck by a car at Volney Rogers Elementary while on the picket line. The driver was Youngstown Schools’ Chief Academic Officer Aaron Bouie III. The case remains under investigation and Bouie III has not faced any discipline from the district.

That Friday, the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) ruled on YCSD’s argument that the strike was illegal because the union had not participated in a state-mandated fact-finding process. SERB ruled in the union’s favor, stating that language in the contract superseded the fact-finding requirement and the union had met all other obligations before voting to strike.

Teutsch said Friday that YEA is still waiting for the district to discuss meeting dates to begin negotiations for the next contract.

Have an interesting story? Contact Dan Pompili by email at dpompili@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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