Youngstown teachers accuse CEO Mohip of unfair labor practices - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown teachers accuse CEO Mohip of unfair labor practices

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

The union representing Youngstown's public school teachers has gone on the attack against the district's CEO over an offer to increase wages.

The Youngstown Education Association filed an unfair labor practice charge Monday, accusing Krish Mohip of using the media to twist facts and engage in public bargaining for his benefit.

In a letter from their attorney, the union alleges the issues are not simply about raises.

They claim if they would agree to reopen the agreement now it would accelerate Mohip's ability to reopen any subject of the collective bargaining agreement such as replacing a majority of the union members, contract with a non-profit or for-profit entity to manage the operations of the school, and permanently close a school if the report card for the school year does not meet qualifications.

The allegation relates to a letter from union president Larry Ellis to Mohip on May 5 that members will not formally reopen the agreement but if Mohip chose to increase the salary by 5 percent, YEA would not challenge that decision on a non precedent setting basis.

The union alleges Mohip ignored their position to allow unilateral action for the raise and instead focused on the union's refusal to modify the labor agreement.

"Your refusal to do so, and your omission of that offer from your public comments, can only lead to the conclusion that you are simply posturing in the hope that you can embarrass the Association into acceptance of an acceleration of H.B. 70's (the law that created the CEO position) significant impact- assuming its constitutionality is upheld," reads the letter from Attorney Stanley Okusewsky III of Green, Haines and Sgambati.

School spokesperson Denise Dick says that wages or any portion of the contract cannot be changed without bargaining and the union hasn't been willing to come to the table to do that.

Regarding unilateral action, Mohip wrote in a letter to Ellis on May 10 that "The only way to increase the pay of our teachers and improve retention is to update that part of the contract with YEA."

Dick says they are talking to attorneys and weighing what to do about the charge.

She claims a union representative first brought up the issue of teachers' wages being one of the lowest paid groups in the county in the Vindicator in January. 

Meanwhile the union's complaint details allegations Mohip went to YEA President Larry Ellis on or about April 6, proposing all management rights be granted in exchange for an increase in salary. 

Then on or about April 18, the allegation states Mohip clarified the raise would be 5 percent but threatened if the union did not accept the offer, he would go to the media and release the information.

The allegation goes on to quote Mohip's editorial in the Vindicator on April 23 stating that the union is unwilling to open the contract in order to raise salaries.

Mohip's letter to Ellis about the proposed raise on May 4 spelled out "I ask for nothing in return for this increase except continued hard work and dedication." 

After Mohip's last letter to Ellis May 10, several news articles were written. They were included in the complaint with Mohip's comments to the media.

Paula Valentini, YEA vice president, said "The Youngstown Education Association is open to meeting with Mr. Mohip, but we will not bargain in public." She referred all comments to come from the union's attorney, who could not be reached Monday night.

The YEA's unfair labor practice complaint can be read below

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