Classes resume Wednesday, faculty remain on strike

"We are committed to ensuring that instruction proceeds without interruption"

Youngstown State University will resume classes on Wednesday as faculty continue their voluntary strike.

In an email to students, Provost Brien Smith said classes will be covered by full-time faculty who have chosen not to go on strike, part-time faculty, and other qualified instructors. 

Smith said students should attend classes on Wednesday, unless notified otherwise by their department chair, and should continue their assigned work.

“We are very disappointed that the faculty union leadership is choosing to remain on strike while classes are in session, especially considering how few outstanding issues remain,” the provost said. 

“That said, we are committed to ensuring that instruction proceeds without interruption and that our students are given the opportunity to continue to pursue their academic goals.”

The faculty union went on strike Monday and Tuesday, coinciding with the university’s Fall Break, when no classes are held. The break ends and classes resume on Wednesday.

“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, professor/associate dean in the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and a member of the administration’s negotiating team. 

Sara Michaliszyn, associate professor/acting chair of Health Professions and also a member of the negotiating team, suggested the union continue negotiating without striking, as it has in the last two contract talks. “The union leadership can choose at any moment to halt the strike, continue with the bargaining process and ensure that instruction for our students is not disrupted,” she said.

The negotiations are taking place in the midst of a global pandemic and financial crisis that has caused YSU to layoff 31 nonteaching employees and to implement pay cuts of up to 15 percent for nearly 500 other nonteaching employees. Due in part to the pandemic, the university’s enrollment and state funding dropped this Fall Semester, creating a $3.7 million revenue shortfall. 

Faculty were offered pay increases of approximately 4 percent and a health insurance plan with no change in the first two years followed by an increase in premium share from 15 percent in 18 percent in the third year. It is the same plan included in the tentative contract agreement with the university’s classified union. 

As classes resume, negotiations will continue.