Union files grievance

Youngstown State University’s Association of Classified Employees union has filed grievances relating to the university’s hiring practices.

The union experienced a drop in membership this summer due to early retirement buyouts for university faculty and staff. ACE President Paul Trimacco said union members noticed that certain departments have hired student employees to temporarily fill those positions.

“Some grievances have been filed after we found out students were using bargaining unit work,” he said. “Although we understand students need employment, there is bargaining unit work that has to be protected.”

Trimacco said he hopes ACE members soon fill the positions that were lost.

Martin Bramlett, director of labor relations, said grievances involving complaints from ACE members are still being evaluated.

“It’s an active grievance, and other people need to weigh in on what the alleged claim is,” Bramlett said. “I can say that the work that these students are doing is the same work they have historically done.”

The Early Retirement Incentive Program allowed 84 university employees to retire early. The Division of Student Affairs was left with more than 20 vacancies because of the fiscal year 2012 shortfall.

Kevin Reynolds, chief human resources officer, said department chairpersons and university administrators reviewed those positions for efficiency.

“Some positions have been eliminated due to reorganization of the work unit,” he said.

ACE still has about 360 members. A hiring freeze has kept numbers relatively stable, but those positions, too, are being re-evaluated.

“Some of the positions that were initially frozen have been resubmitted and have been approved for reposting, filled or are in the process of being filled,” Reynolds said.

But Bramlett added that “hiring freeze” isn’t necessarily the right term to use.

“It’s not really a hiring freeze because not all positions are being left vacant,” he said. “It’s more of a hiring fog going on because they are hiring positions with importance or strategic value.”