Negotiations between YSU, faculty union continue Wednesday with no major delay

Local News

It's the day both sides have said they were trying to avoid

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There was no major delay in the start of Wednesday’s negotiations between Youngstown State University and the faculty union, according to multiple sources on both sides of the negotiation.

Both parties said negotiations began at 1:30 p.m., rather than 1 p.m., but said reports from another news outlet that the negotiations had been delayed further into the afternoon were incorrect.

After two negotiating sessions Tuesday, YSU’s administration and faculty union were unable to come to a contract agreement.

Wednesday is the day both sides have said they were trying to avoid. Students returned from fall break and didn’t come back to usual professors, some didn’t come back to class at all.

“Right now, I don’t have any classes scheduled. I was sent an email that said you won’t have any classes for the rest of the week because they can’t find someone to cover it,” said Kira Bowman, a YSU junior.

YSU President Jim Tressel released a video Wednesday afternoon regarding the strike. He said classes are in session and being taught by professors who are not on the picket line, part-time instructors or other qualified instructors unless otherwise notified by a department chair.

“My O-chem was canceled, so I can’t do my organic chemistry and then my biology classes aren’t happening because there is not a suitable fit,” said Jade Sweitzer, a YSU junior.

PhD student Jennifer George says she is concerned about substitute instructors.

“I signed up to be taught by qualified individuals who are experts in their field, right? That’s why one does go to graduate school, so it is very disappointing to see this cutting in to this semester,” George said.

Another student shared an email with WKBN First News from a chemistry professor who said, in part, ” “faculty will lose access to their YSU email and any online content hosted by YSU {like blackboard} during the strike.”

“We’re paying money for each of these classes that we’re missing, still,” said YSU senior Rebecca Scott. “It does affect us, even if you’re like some of the students who are like we don’t have classes this week, yay, but you are still paying for that and not getting the education that you need.”

On Tuesday, both sides met after university administrators announced Monday that a counterproposal was being considered involving some compromise on salaries.

However, the union said the counterproposal presented during negotiations Monday was different than the one sent out to the union. YSU said the mistake was a miscommunication, according to union officials.

YSU has set up a web page to guide students through the strike.

“We are ensuring as best as we can that there will be qualified individuals that will be covering these classes for now. Our hope is that the two sides can get back to the table,” said YSU spokesperson Ron Cole.

YSU-OEA union members said they don’t agree with bringing in substitutes. Members of the faculty interview any potential new hire and as long as the strike continues, that won’t happen.

Cole said students are expected to be in class and their work is still expected to be turned in unless told otherwise.

Some professors said they won’t accept any homework turned in by substitute teachers. Some students are following suit.

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