YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The union that represents faculty at Youngstown State University issued a 10-day strike notice Thursday.
The notice from YSU Ohio Educational Association (YSU-OEA) comes after stalled negotiations and the release of a fact-finder’s report that the university administration did not agree with.
The strike notice is a procedural step and required by Ohio law. It does not mean that a strike is imminent or inevitable, according to YSU-OEA.
The union nor university officials have voted to accept or reject the fact finder’s report. YSU-OEA negotiators say that if either side rejects the findings, they should go back to the bargaining table.
Kevin Kralj, JD, YSU director of labor and employee relations, sent a letter to YSU-OEA’s chief negotiator asking for meetings.
“We have invited you twice this week to meet as suggest by the Fact Finder. In your most recent e-mail from yesterday, you indicted it would be “unwise to resume negotiations until both parties have completed the voting process,” Kralj wrote.
Kralj said the two sides can meet and discuss a potential solution while simultaneously voting on the report.
“We believe it would be beneficial to the process for the teams to meet before Oct. 5 board meeting,” Kralj wrote. “Doing so will be viewed positively by the University.”
The YSU Board of Trustees meets Monday, Oct. 5 to vote on the report.
YSU-OEA membership will meet later that same day to discuss the trustees’ vote and determine the next step. Union leaders say they see a strike as a last resort.
“The leadership of YSU-OEA considers the fact finder’s report fair and reasonable. We
remain hopeful that we will still be able to reach a swift and amicable agreement, even if
one of the parties votes to reject the report,” YSU-OEA spokesperson Mark Vopat said.
YSU-OEA leadership believes the recommendations in the fact-finder’s report, which consistently support retaining current contract language, validate their requests to postpone negotiations to next year because of the pandemic–appeals the administration repeatedly denied.
Kralj wrote that the report recommends a 6% pay increase over three years, while other employees have taken pay cuts.
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