YSU faculty call strike vote amid crumbling negotiations

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Contract talks are set to resume Friday

Youngstown State University, YSU

Credit: WKBN

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The faculty union at YSU has called a strike vote.

Citing “unproductive” contract talks, the membership is voting on a strike authorization beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday and will wrap up the vote on Saturday.

Contract talks are set to resume Friday after a two-hour session Wednesday where an agreement was not reached.

The university has rejected a fact-finder’s report that calls for a 6% pay raise for faculty.

Citing declining enrollment and reduced funding, university officials say the budget cannot sustain the pay raise, especially after some university employees have been furloughed.

YSU-OEA officials said in a release Thursday that the university’s financial situation is not as bleak as they predicted.

Neal McNally, YSU’s vice president of finance, said while larger declines were predicted, overall revenues fall short of expenses by $2 million.

“In addition, it would be irresponsible for the administration to ignore the possibility of another COVID shutdown that could mean further revenue losses,” he said.

McNally added that they are not asking faculty for further cuts but are, in fact, offering a salary increase.

Union officials say faculty salaries at YSU are lower than other Ohio universities. McNally said that’s because YSU has comparatively lower revenue per student because of lower tuition costs.

Statistics used by negotiators show that YSU professors make about $10,000 per year less than their colleagues at other Ohio universities.

The average salary for a professor at YSU is $87,724. Associate professors and lecturers make between $51,296 and $75,585.

As both sides haggle, YSU students are worried their studies will be interrupted in an already tumultuous semester under the pandemic.

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