Education

YSU Declares Impasse, Imposes ACE Contract

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees voted Monday to impose the tentative agreement reached with negotiators for the Association of Classified Employees that members of the union overwhelmingly voted to reject last week.

The action was taken at a special meeting  during which trustees voted to declare an impasse and approve a resolution to implement the tentative agreement.

The new working conditions in the tentative agreement, which are retroactive to August 2014, will be implemented immediately, YSU said in a statement. Among its terms are a pay freeze, reduction in starting wages, changes in health benefits and new work rules.

“After more than a year of good faith bargaining and hard word to negotiate an agreement that both teams deemed acceptable, the administration and the union were finally able to reach a tentative agreement earlier this spring. Last week, however, the union membership overwhelmingly rejected that agreement. It is increasingly obvious at this time that the two sides are not able to reach a final agreement and are, therefore, at ultimate impasse,” the university said in a statement.

“The administration must immediately begin to take the steps necessary to ensure that changes in working conditions, including changes in health benefits, are in place by the start of the new fiscal year July 1.”

According to the statement, the new health benefits plan provides for a one-year freeze on employee premium increases followed by two years of capped increases, with no reduction in benefit levels. In addition, the new working conditions freeze pay and step increases for three years, “provide the same health benefits that the university recently negotiated with the faculty, establish procedures for subcontracting, and include revisions and changes to layoff and recall procedures, vacation pay, personal leave, and sick leave payouts for retirees.”

Changes to the paid time off benefits are largely consistent with benefits offered to employees at other Ohio public universities, YSU said. Subcontracting was included in exchange for removing 10 furlough days. Shorter layoff notice periods were added in exchange for withdrawing proposed limitations on bumping rights.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.