Strike over: YSU, faculty union reach understanding early Thursday morning

Local News

The strike lasted three full days before the two sides could agree to terms

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The faculty strike at Youngstown State University is over. The union and university administration say they’ve reached an understanding on a new three-year contract.

WKBN First News heard from representatives on both sides. Mark Vopat, the YSU-OEA spokesperson, told us the two sides reached an understanding early Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, the administration said the newest proposal they offered called for a 4% salary increase. It breaks down to no pay raise in the first year, and 2% raises in the second and third years.

The university’s previous proposal called for raises of 0%, 1% and 2% over three years.

The tentative agreement includes no pay raise in the first year and 2 percent raises in both the second and third year. Contributions to health insurance premiums will stay the same for the first two years of the contract and increase from 15 to 18 percent in the third year.

“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,” said Provost Brien Smith. “We’ve heard you, we couldn’t agree more and we look forward to working collegially on these and many other issues.”

In addition to the economic issues, the union said these following issues were also hammered out.

  • Maintenance of most shared governance rights, including the rights to meaningfully
    participate in academic program development, determine class sizes and elect
    department chairs
  • Protections for YSU’s most vulnerable faculty members
  • Faculty retention of intellectual property rights

YSU-OEA spokesman Mark Vopat said right now, both sides have to sit down and hammer out the specific language. Once that’s done, it will be presented to the members for a vote. If the membership votes in favor of the tentative agreement, the board of trustees will also have to sign off on the agreement.

Vopat said they’re all overwhelmed by the support they received from students and the entire community.

“We cannot fully express our deep appreciation for the students who raised their voices to
support us, especially those who joined us on the physical and virtual picket line and who sent
us consistent support via social media during this. Students are why we do what we do, and
why we fought so hard for an agreement that will guarantee the future of our university,” /vopat said.

The faculty union voted to strike Saturday and the strike officially began Monday. That strike lasted three full days before the two sides could agree to terms.

Students returned from their fall break Wednesday to some uncertainty, but university officials say scheduled classes at YSU will continue Thursday.

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