YSU Cuts 22 Coaching, Admin Jobs; Unions OK Furloughs, Layoffs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown State University announced today significant operational budget cuts and the elimination of 22 coaching and administrative positions in Intercollegiate Athletics, resulting in an overall expense reduction of nearly $2 million. 

In addition, the university and two of its employee unions have agreed to a plan that calls for furloughs resulting in a 10% pay cut and a lack-of-work layoff of 69 workers, a savings of at least $2.8 million. 

Both actions are in response to financial challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The agreement with the 251-member Association for Classified Employees and the 163-member Association of Professional/Administrative Staff calls for:

  • All employees in the two unions to take 26 furlough days of unpaid leave during the 2020-21 fiscal year that starts July 1. That equals a 10% pay cut.
  • Forty-five ACE employees and 24 APAS employees to be laid off for lack of work in areas of the university that have temporarily closed due to the pandemic, including areas such as housing and dining services, and parking. The lack-of-work layoffs run through July 31. 
    In addition, the agreement, approved by both unions last week, allows for a voluntary reduction in force under which employees can ask to be laid off June 1 to July 31.

“Our employees stepped up earlier this spring when we had to quickly switch all of our classes to remote instruction,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “They’re stepping up again by agreeing to these actions. We commend them for their cooperation and continued commitment to the university’s greater good.”

More Budget Reductions Are Imminent

“It is so difficult in this environment to forecast our financial future with any certainty whatsoever,” said Neal McNally, vice president for finance and business operations. “What we do know, however, is that the challenges are large.” 

“We truly appreciate the willingness of ACE and APAS to help the university meet these financial realities,” Tressel added. “Their action will certainly lessen, but not eliminate, the need for permanent layoffs. We continue to be in discussions regarding reorganization and operational efficiency.”

The action comes less than three weeks after Tressel announced he was taking a 15% salary reduction and that more than 100 other employees excluded from union membership will have their pay cut by as much as 10%, a projected savings of nearly $700,000. 

APAS President Ed Villone said there was no doubt members would band together with the university to work out a plan to mitigate at least some of the financial damage caused by the pandemic.  

“APAS members collaborated through many meetings and came to a quick conclusion that our students and communities depend greatly upon YSU and their employees to be there for now and in the future,” he said. “To give those students a future, APAS overwhelmingly passed a vote that included layoffs and furloughs to reach our cost savings goals.”   

ACE President Connie Frisby added: “We all have a vested interest in the success of YSU and its students. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the university on these measures to save as many jobs as possible.”

YSU joins a growing list of universities and colleges across Ohio and the nation announcing budget cuts, pay reductions, layoffs and other actions in response to the financial crunch in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among YSU’s financial challenges is a $1.6 million cut in state funding over the last three months of this fiscal year and nearly $3 million in revenue losses via student fee refunds.

For fiscal year 2021, YSU projects an additional $8.7 million reduction in state funding, a loss of up to $1 million in investment income, and continued uncertainty concerning next year’s enrollment levels. Housing, dining and parking revenue, totaling nearly $15 million annually, may also be threatened. 

“As we thoughtfully and collectively work through these unprecedented and complex challenges, we do so looking forward to the start of the fall semester in August and the great opportunity to again help our students pursue success,” Tressel said.

SOURCE: YSU News Service.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.