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YSU-OEA STRIKE DAY 3 | With no settlement, it's back to classes

The parties will continue negotiating from 1 to 4 p.m. today. Meanwhile, today is the first day back to school after fall break for YSU students.

YOUNGSTOWN — Despite optimism heading into the second day of a strike  — the first in 15 years — Youngstown State University and its faculty union were unable to reach an agreement late Tuesday night.

Both parties will continue negotiating today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

As the strike moves into Day 3, classes resume today after a brief fall break for students. According to Provost Brien Smith, classes will be taught by "full-time faculty who have chosen not to go on strike, part-time faculty and other qualified instructors."

In a release Tuesday night, the YSU administration criticized the union for continuing to strike while classes resume and pointedly described the strike as "voluntary."

“Going on strike during Fall Break when there were no classes is one thing; walking the picket line and leaving students in the lurch is quite another,” said Greg Moring, associate dean in the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and a member of the administration’s negotiating team. 

The administration on Sunday put out a call for temporary instructors to cover classes taught by striking YSU-OEA faculty. 

In an email obtained by Mahoning Matters, Beeghly College Dean Charles Howell explained substitute instructors will be compensated at a full-time faculty overload rate — $1,250 per credit hour prorated for the number of weeks covered.

Despite the administration's criticism and the expected effects of the strike on students, many students and alumni have joined professors picketing or voiced support for the union on social media, union officials said.

“Our students deserve a quality education and they know that supporting faculty expertise, intellectual inquiry, and commitment to the community translates to student success,” YSU-OEA spokesperson Mark Vopat said in a Tuesday night release.

The parties made progress in a negotiation session Monday but hit a speedbump Tuesday when the union noted the administration's financial proposal in the negotiation session differed from the content of its press release sent hours later. 

Negotiating teams met Tuesday afternoon to smooth over the issue — blamed on a mistake — and agreed to meet again Tuesday night to continue negotiations. 

YSU-OEA President Steven Reale noted the administration made "incremental moves," but the administration's counterproposal "still falls far too short from giving faculty the protection, equity and respect we deserve."

On Monday, a university news release said the financial proposal includes a 3-percent pay raise over three years. During the second year of the contract, lecturers and assistant professors would receive a lump sum of $1,000. Associate and full professors would receive $750. 

In a Tuesday night release, the university said faculty were offered pay increases of "approximately 4 percent."

In both releases, the university said faculty contributions to health care premiums would remain the same for two years and increase from 15 to 18 percent in the third year. 

Jess Hardin

About the Author: Jess Hardin

Jess Hardin is a reporter for Mahoning Matters. She grew up in Pittsburgh and last worked at The Vindicator. Jess graduated from Georgetown University.
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