YSU-OEA Votes to Strike!

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Youngstown State University’s 337-member faculty union, YSU-OEA, voted Saturday to strike. Of the 326 member votes cast, representing a total member response rate of 96.74%, 86 percent / 279 members voted yes to strike, 9 percent / 29 members voted against a strike and 5 percent / 18 members abstained from voting.

Once the state chapter of the Ohio Education Association sanctions the move, the strike will begin 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 12, the first day of YSU’s Fall Break. Classes are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, Oct. 14, which gives YSU administration two full days to close a reasonable deal with YSU-OEA so that classes are not disrupted.

Negotiations between YSU-OEA and YSU administration have been stymied by the latter’s insistence on repeatedly denying the union’s proposals to achieve its stated goals: Legal security for YSU’s most vulnerable faculty members, the continuation of current departmental processes that have created and supported the excellent programs that YSU offers and which allow faculty to meaningfully contribute to the future of YSU, and a financial proposal that sustains vibrant and engaged faculty who come to work at YSU from across the country and the world.

Additionally, despite its claims to be at varying levels of deficit, YSU administration provides no support or explanation for its lack of accountability and transparency in its finances. This week alone the deficit seems to have ranged between $2 to $3.7 million, according to different public statements made by YSU to WFMJ Friday and by Provost Brien Smith in his email to the YSU community Friday evening.

YSU-OEA asserts that it is actions like this that underpin “the entrenched distrust between administration and faculty” Judge Betty Widgeon noted in her impartial fact-finder’s report, which YSU-OEA membership voted overwhelmingly to accept but which the YSU Board of Trustees voted to reject Monday, Oct. 5.

“This decision reinforces what members said last week when they voted overwhelmingly to accept Judge Widgeon’s fact-finding report and we hope that Administration hears us too, this time,” YSU-OEA spokesperson Mark Vopat said.

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