Education

YSU Faculty Ratify Contract by Just 17 Votes

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio  —  Faculty members at Youngstown State University yesterday narrowly approved a new labor agreement with the university.

Members of the Youngstown State University chapter of the Ohio Education Association approved the three-year agreement by 17 votes, said Annette Burden, president of the bargaining unit. “It was a very narrow pass,” she remarked following the vote. The union has 367 members, she said.

The university’s board of trustees “will review and consider the agreement, with a vote possibly next week,” YSU spokesman Ron Cole said.

Although the agreement “represents only a slight improvement over the highly concessionary” agreement faculty rejected in November, “for the sake of our students and in support of the institution’s mission, YSU-OEA faculty voted to move on and ratify the new tentative agreement,” according to the union statement.

“Although anyone reviewing the [tentative agreement] might be romanced by the inclusion of bonuses and raises that faculty will receive in years two and three of the contract, it should be pointed out that these increases were TOTALLY {emphasis in original text] subsidized by givebacks from the faculty,” the union said.

Raises in the agreement were paid for by faculty givebacks in summer compensation and stipends in distance education, while the bonuses were paid for by the abolishment of extended teaching service. That benefit, which has been in the contract for more than 40 years, has helped faculty financially ease into retirement, Burden said. There are no changes in compensation in the first year of the agreement, she pointed out said.

“We’ve given a lot of stuff up,” she said. “Everything we’ve given up takes effect in that first year. We don’t see any benefits until years two and three.”

“There is no new money in the contract. It was all from money that we got by giving things up,” she emphasized.

“YSU-OEA will continue its efforts to work collaboratively with the administration and with the board in the future,” the union said in its statement. “However, we need to recognize the great sacrifices that faculty have made in both the last contract and this new [agreement] in order to give the university an opportunity to get its financial house in order.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.