Youngstown State University's faculty union ratified a new contract proposal  from the university Sunday evening, ensuring that instructors would be in front of their classrooms when the fall semester begins this morning. Early this morning, the university also reached agreement with more than 400 secretaries, computer programmers and other classified employees, ending their strike of more than a week.
By a vote of 182 to 119, the members of the Youngstown State chapter of the Ohio Education Association ratified the contract by secret ballot Sunday evening, according to Bob Hogue, an associate professor of computer science and information systems and the union's first vice president.
Under the latest version of the accord, which remains to be approved by Youngstown State's Board of Trustees, the university agreed to increase salaries by a total of 10 percent over the contract's three year term, up from 9 percent before the strike began. The university also agreed to delay until the 2006-7 academic year -- the contract's second year -- a requirement that professors begin contributing toward health care from their salaries.
Administrators had originally insisted that the health care contributions -- of 1.5 percent of an instructor's annual salary for family coverage, 0.75 percent for individual coverage -- begin immediately.
Faculty members went on strike  last Tuesday, joining classified staff employees who had started their strike  the week before. David Sweet, had said that classes would not begin today if the faculty strike was not resolved, but he told local reporters that the university could hold classes even if the Association of Classified Employees remained on strike.
But at about 5 a.m. today, the university announced that it had struck a deal with the classified employees' union, so its members returned to work this morning, too.
Youngstown State's trustees are expected to meet some time this week to consider the two agreements