WEB EXCLUSIVE: Youngstown State faculty goes on strike

Rachel Abbey

While Kent State settled negotiations between the university and the faculty union with a final contract Aug. 23, faculty at a nearby university voted to strike.

Faculty at Youngstown State University decided to strike at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 23 after rejecting a contract proposal, according to a press release from the university. Ron Cole, manager of News and Information Services at Youngstown State, said all 390 of the university’s full-time faculty are a part of the union and of the strike.

The proposed contract had called for faculty to begin contributing to their health insurance premiums, according to the press release. Youngstown State did not require their employees to do this in previous years.

For Kent State’s faculty union, health care costs were also a point of argument, said Cheryl Casper, president of the Kent State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. One particular provision would have called for employees to pay all health care costs over a certain amount, but it was eliminated from the final contract.

A strike was a definite possibility for Kent State’s faculty union as well, Casper said. The AAUP-KSU had been conducting a strike authorization, but it never counted the ballots as part of an agreement with the university to settle contract negotiations.

However, Casper said if a strike had been necessary, it probably would have begun the week before classes started to put pressure on both sides for a settlement.

“[We] try to structure the strike in a way least detrimental to students,” she said.

Four hundred Youngstown State employees, from groundskeepers to secretaries to computer programmers, also went on strike Aug. 16, Cole said.

Classes do not begin until Monday, and Cole said the university hopes to resolve the strike before then. The Youngstown State Board of Trustees will meet Aug. 24.

If no conclusion is reached, the university will have to readjust the academic schedule, because there are currently no plans to rely on the part-time professors who are not on strike or to replace the full-time professors, Cole said. The administration and the Board of Trustees have been examining possibilities and will release them to the public Thursday or Friday if an agreement is not made between the unions and the university.

Students are still registering for classes, but the freshmen orientation program has been canceled, Cole said. According to the press release, students will still begin moving in Friday.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].