Agreement in Place, YSU and Union Look to Ratify New Contract

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With a tentative agreement in place, the new contract between Youngstown State University and its faculty union now heads to the university’s Board of Trustees and union membership for ratification.

The votes are expected to occur over the next several days. The YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association will vote on the agreement first and if it is approved, the contract will head to the university trustees

Among the items agreed to, according to the union, are the maintenance of shared governance “including the rights to meaningfully participate in academic program development, determine class sizes and elect department chairs,” faculty’s retention of intellectual property rights, protection of vulnerable faculty members and a pay raise schedule. The agreement includes no pay raise in Year One of the contract, but gives faculty a 2% in Years Two and Three.

“We wouldn’t have been able to make any headway if we had not been out on the sidewalk with all of the people who supported us,” said YSU-OEA President Steven Reale in a statement. “I am so proud of the incredible showing of strength and support from our faculty, our students, our colleagues from across the university, from state-level OEA, from local and state legislators, and the absolutely overwhelming outpouring of solidarity from people around the entire country via social media. …  We look forward to being in the classroom again.”

In a statement from the university, provost Brien Smith said the agreement – reached after a three-day strike by the faculty – is a chance for the two sides to work toward “an academic environment of respect, trust and consultation that is squarely focused on the success of all students.

“Throughout this process, we heard loud and clear from the faculty about the need to enhance shared governance across campus and to improve the level of trust between the administration and faculty,” he continued. “We’ve heard you, we couldn’t agree more and we look forward to working collegially on these and many other issues.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.