The union for the nearly 450 employees for the Youngstown Education Association (YEA), the union for employees of the Youngstown district and negotiation representatives for the Youngstown City Schools Board of Education met recently to begin bargaining a new contract for employees, however, YEA officials are declaring an impasse.

According  to YEA spokesperson Jim Courim, union negotiating officials and attorneys for the district from the law firm of BakerHostetler, as well as district superintendent Justin Jennings and other district officials met on May 4 for its first negotiation session before the contract between school employees and the district expires on June 30.

The YEA press release alleges that the negotiation session made no progress, and has invoked the contractual procedure to enter into mediation around contract negotiations. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) will assign a federal mediator to assist the both parties to attempt to reach a resolution before the contract expires. The service, which is federally funded, will not cost the YEA or the Board additional

The press release stated "YEA is excited about the fact that the local Board of Education has full local control over the school district, and they wish to collaborate with the recently-empowered local Board to optimize student success."

Now as part of its ongoing effort to resolve negotiations in as timely a manner as possible, YEA is invoking the contractual procedure to enter into mediation around contract negotiations. The mediation process involves contacting the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), who will assign a federal mediator to assist the parties. This service is federally funded and will not cost either the YEA or the Board additional funds.

The union spokesperson Courim, who is an English Language Arts teacher at Chaney Middle School, said, “We know that our students benefit most when the attention of teachers, administrators, and board members is on what is happening in the classroom and not on what is happening in other venues. We wish to avoid a protracted and contentious negotiation, so we hope a mediator can assist us in finding common ground and reaching an agreement before our contract expires.”
Courim stated, “It has been a little confusing to us as to why the school administration and Board have not also done everything they can to provide for a speedy resolution to negotiations. We know they have some other contentious matters to tend to, so we think it is to everyone’s benefit to get this item off their to-do list. We’ll hope for the best in mediation. There’s still time for the Board to get this right.”  
Stacy Quinones, Communications and Public Relations Director for the Youngstown City School District told 21 News that the district's administration remains committed to bargaining in compliance with Ohio Revised Code and that they are working to present proposals that would serve the students of Youngstown.
In an emailed statement said, "Unfortunately, there was a rush to mediation after only one session, where the proposals were rejected with no discussion. The district emphasizes that we welcome any opportunity to illustrate our commitment to improving Youngstown's education quality for our scholars."
The statement added that administrators "believe the district and YEA have a shared goal of providing scholars with an excellent educational environment. The district's administration looks forward to negotiating to ensure the best for our scholars and educators."