YSU-OEA Accepts Fact-Finder Report, Trustees Will Vote Monday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The YSU-OEA has voted to accept the fact-finder’s report issued by Judge Betty Widgeon.

In a vote Friday, the 337-member faculty union at Youngstown State University voted 312-3 to approve the report with 93% of members voting.

The report was made after sworn testimony and data including financial and budget document was presented by both the union and Youngstown State University during the fact-finding process.

YSU-OEA believes the fact-finder’s report “offers a clear path forward to resolving our disputes in order to remain focused on the academic business of the university by maintaining most current contract language,” said union spokesperson Mark Vopat in a statement.

“As stated in a YSU-OEA press release Sept. 28, overall, the YSU-OEA executive and negotiating committees believe Widgeon’s recommendations were fair and reasonable – the results of today’s vote clearly indicate faculty members of YSU-OEA feel the same,” the statement continued. “This optimism is spurred in part by a statement made to local media outlets earlier this week by YSU President Jim Tressel, who stated that faculty and employees who have taken furloughs and pay cuts to help the university deal with pandemic budget constraints need to have their normal salaries returned. 

“YSU-OEA takes this as a clear indication that the university’s financial situation has improved beyond its initial budget report predictions this summer and that YSU administration may have rightly adjusted their stance on issues that are important to YSU-OEA members,” it continued.

The YSU Board of Trustees will meet Monday and among the items on its agenda is a vote on whether to approve the fact-finder report as well.

“Should the trustees reject the report, the YSU-OEA looks forward to returning to the bargaining table and hopes that the parties can swiftly negotiate a fair and equitable contract that will be beneficial to everyone,” Vopat said.

Thursday afternoon, the YSU-OEA submitted a 10-day intent to strike notification to YSU administrators and the State Employees Relations Board. The procedural step is required by state law and does not mean a strike is “imminent or inevitable,” the union said in its announcement. A strike would require an additional vote by members; the intent to strike notice can be withdrawn at any time.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.