Negotiations Ongoing in YSU Faculty Strike

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After a round of negotiations Wednesday in the ongoing YSU faculty strike, the union “strongly urges” the university’s board of trustees to intervene “on behalf of the YSU community,” according to a statement from the YSU-OEA.

Administration at Youngstown State University presented a proposal Wednesday that included increasing base salaries by 4%, according to a YSU release. The terms include no pay raise the first year with base pay raises of 2% in both the second and third years. YSU President Jim Tressel stated the terms of the proposal “are such that we hope to resolve this contract today.”

“This offer is more than fair given the university’s difficult financial challenges, not to speak of the many unknowns moving forward with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Anita Hackstedde, chair of the YSU Board of Trustees. “We are hopeful that the faculty will accept this offer, call off the strike and return to the classroom in support of our students.”

However, the administration hasn’t addressed two of the four issues raised by the striking faculty, said Steven Reale, president of the YSU chapter of the Ohio Education Association. Though the union allows contract proposals have resolved the issue of faculty retention of intellectual property rights, and have moved toward the union in salary and health care, “they steadfastly refuse to budge on language that hits at the core of what we do as faculty,” he said.

“In every news release from Administration since the strike began Monday, Administration has told the public that faculty are striking solely over money and benefits. This is untrue,” Reale said in a statement. “However, as the YSU-OEA has insisted throughout negotiations, the remaining two issues Administration does not discuss in its releases are equally important to the membership of YSU-OEA: Protection of our most vulnerable faculty, and preservation of the decades-old principle that has been at the center of this university for as long as the YSU OEA has existed: allowing faculty to have a meaningful say in the educational future of the university.”

Among the faculty’s concerns if they accepted the current proposal, they “will have no say in the election of their chairs or in the operations of their departments,” according to the YSU-OEA release.

“What we are really fighting for is the soul of Youngstown State University itself,” Reale said.

Faculty have been on strike since Monday. After Fall Break on Monday and Tuesday, classes resumed Wednesday with full-time faculty who have chosen not to go on strike, part-time faculty and “other qualified instructors” teaching classes, YSU provost Brien Smith said in an email to students Tuesday.

The two sides began another negotiation session at 9 p.m. Wednesday

Related coverage:

Oct. 14 | After Late-Night Session, Still No Deal Between YSU, Union
Oct. 12 | YSU, Union Will Meet Again Tuesday After ‘Moving Closer’ to Agreement
Oct. 12 | With Strike Started, YSU and Union Hopeful for Quick Agreement

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.