YSU, faculty union ink tentative agreement

The Youngstown State University administration and faculty union have signed off on a tentative agreement that includes 4 percent raises over the three-year contract.

The pact will now go before the YSU Board of Trustees and the union membership for ratification. Those votes are expected over the next several days. The union ended a three-day strike this morning.

“We appreciate the faculty and administration coming together to reach a tentative agreement that helps address the university’s financial needs and that will prevent further disruption in an already challenging year,” said Anita Hackstedde, chair of the YSU Board of Trustees. “We thank students for their patience and look forward to a successful completion of the Fall Semester.”

The tentative agreement includes no pay raise in the first year and 2 percent raises in both the second and third year. Contributions to health insurance premiums will stay the same for the first two years of the contract and increase from 15 to 18 percent in the third year.

Provost Brien Smith said the agreement provides a perfect opportunity for the administration and faculty to come together to create an academic environment of respect, trust and consultation that is squarely focused on the success of all students. He called on the Academic Senate to help lead the way.

“Throughout this process, we heard loud and clear from the faculty about the need to enhance shared governance across campus and to improve the level of trust between the administration and faculty,” Smith said. “We’ve heard you, we couldn’t agree more and we look forward to working collegially on these and many other issues.”

President Jim Tressel added, “We’re so excited to now be able to put our total focus on the exciting opportunities ahead for the university, the community and especially for our students.”

The president also thanked negotiating teams for both the administration and the faculty union for their time-consuming, arduous work on behalf of the university.

It is the second tentative contract agreement with a YSU employee union in the last week. The university and the union representing classified employees agreed to terms on Friday for a new three-year pact. Ratification votes on that contract are also expected over the next several days.

The tentative agreements with the university’s two largest unions come 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.