YSU students worry about faculty strike as contract talks continue

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Both sides met Wednesday for over two hours but no agreement was reached

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Negotiations between YSU’s faculty union and administrators took a turn Wednesday. The union called the talks “unproductive” and indicated the membership could be heading toward a strike.

It’s definitely been a subject of confusion for students, but administrators are hopeful issues get resolved before a strike and are prepared if no agreement is reached.

YSU Freshman Eric Schaefer said he’s heard the rumors that things aren’t going so great.

“There is something going around that the teachers and the staff disagree with, and there will eventually be a strike if something happens,” he said.

Both sides met Wednesday for over two hours but no agreement was reached. YSU-OEA spokesperson Mark Vopat said they are “one step closer to a strike.”

If that happens, students, who are already dealing with the fallout of the pandemic on their education, worry about what’s next.

“I was just curious, would we still have class or what would happen with all of us? How many is like in on it?” YSU Junior Taryn Kolesar said.

“I hope it doesn’t affect my program and my teachers,” said YSU junior Rosalyn Shawley.

Ron Cole, public information officer for YSU, said the administration is hopeful they will resolve the situation, but they are prepared if faculty choose to strike.

“If we get to the point where there is a work stoppage, we will be launching a website where students, the community and parents can get the latest information,” Cole said.

Schaefer thinks about what would happen to his classes if there are more delays, and he also worries about his bottom line.

“What’s going to happen to my classes and stuff like that? How long could this be if a strike were to happen and if it will affect my tuition in any way, ” he said.

Shawley talks about the challenges students are already facing with the pandemic and online classes. She worries that more will be on the students if there is a strike.

“It’s already hard learning because of the whole coronavirus thing being online for part of the semester. I feel like if the teachers aren’t there then it’s even harder if you have to completely teach yourself the material,” Shawley said.

Another round of contract talks is set for Friday. In the meantime, YSU-OEA members are meeting Friday to talk about what happened Wednesday and their path forward.

“We have to be realistic and you know, if we have to face these situations we will, but I think both the administration and the faculty union are working to keep the students at the forefront of everything that we do,” Cole.

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