UUP Delegate Assembly Support Resolution for AAUP-Wright State Faculty Strike

Special Order of Business for Winter 2019 DA

UUP Delegate Assembly Support Resolution for

AAUP-Wright State Faculty Strike

 

Whereas, after two years of failed negotiations, management has attempted to impose a contract onto the Wright State University faculty represented by the AAUP-Wright State union,

Whereas, such a contract is not the result of a collective-bargaining agreement and is onerous, including but not limited to a drastic change in health insurance unilaterally imposed, furloughs, lengthening the time to continuing appointment, canceling workloads agreement, no pay raise, merit pay at supervisors’ discretion, and changes in summer teaching with negative impacts, 

Whereas, the members of the Wright State union overwhelmingly voted to strike beginning on January 22, 2019 and have continued to strike and picket in exceptionally cold winter weather, reported to be the longest higher education strike in Ohio history,

Whereas, the State Employment Relations Board for Ohio has ruled against management and for the union that the strike is legal, and

Whereas, the President of the United University Professions Fred Kowal has written a strong supportive letter to the Wright State strikers and its union, which is published on the AAUP-Wright State union website,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE DELEGATE ASSEMBLY OF UUP

Affirms President Kowal’s letter to the AAUP-Wright State Union and directs a similar letter to be directed to the Wright State University President, its Board of Trustees, as well as to the Governor and leadership of the Senate and House of the Ohio State Legislature, copied to the union,

Offers to send a delegation from UUP for a rally for the faculty strikers organized by the Wright State union,

Encourages academic and professional members of UUP to write personal letters of support to the AAUP-Wright State faculty union and to the President of Wright State University,

Encourages volunteer financial contributions by UUP members, to reinforce the financial support UUP provides from its funds, and

Encourages the Executive Board of UUP to authorize such continued vigilance for supportive actions that it deems appropriate until the strike is settled, including but not limited to financial support for strike materials, helping in advertising and distributing the position of the strikers, and such other concrete supports as needed.

 

Letter of Support from the Ohio State Chapter of AAUP

Ohio State AAUP

February 4, 2019

President Cheryl Schrader

Wright State University

260 University Hall

3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy.

Dayton, OH 45435

 

Dear President Schrader and Members of the Wright State University Board of Trustees:

I write on behalf of the Ohio State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which stands with the Wright State University chapter members of the AAUP in their struggle to defend their collective bargaining rights. We are inspired by the steadfastness of our colleagues, who are beginning the third week of their historic strike—now the longest higher education strike in Ohio history.

We strongly urge your administration and the Wright State Board of Trustees to return to negotiations immediately in good faith, rather than continuing to unilaterally impose contracts on faculty.

As AAUP-WSU has repeatedly said, while there are significant differences between the union and the administration on health care, faculty governance, and summer pay, the biggest issue AAUP-WSU is defending is the very right to collective bargaining, the right to negotiate.

A note posted by AAUP-WSU on Facebook on February 4 describes the actions taken by the administration and Board of Trustees that must end, in the best interests of the faculty and the students.

As Marty Kich (President of AAUP-WSU) explained, “We offered the WSU administration/Board $8 million in concessions; they turned down that offer and would not change a word of their proposal on Saturday evening. Then on Sunday, they voted [amongst Board members] to approve their own proposals, a stunt designed to convince people that we should then ask our members to vote on their proposals as well. But our chapter Constitution defines procedures for votes on contracts on which the two sides have reached ‘tentative agreement.’ Since we have not reached any agreement on the Board’s proposals, we do not intend to ask our members to vote on them.”

We urge you to stop trying to fight the right of the union to negotiate—and actually negotiate. Your refusal to negotiate has been an unfortunate feature of this conflict from the beginning, and is counter-productive.

In the first week of the strike, which began on January 22, your administration refused to negotiate at all.

You only came to the table after a January 27 hearing with the State Employees Relations Board (SERB) in Columbus, which many OSU faculty and AAUP members also attended, in which the state board unanimously rejected your administration’s attempt to have the strike declared “unauthorized.” The SERB rejected claims that the faculty were “sabotaging” classrooms, or that they were “lying” and operating in bad faith.

AAUP-WSU members have conducted their strike with directness, honesty, and dignity. They have garnered the support of many students, as demonstrated by the emergence of organizations like WSU Students for Faculty. We join our voices with the many AAUP chapters and unions across the state and from around the country who have stood by them.

In the teachers’ strikes that have exploded across this country over the last year, a slogan has emerged: “Teachers’ teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions.” Without a fairly negotiated contract that actually uplifts and supports faculty work and life, the education of students will suffer. This is simply unacceptable at a public institution, whose mission is, above all, to provide education for students with instructors and researchers at the top of their fields.

We stand with our colleagues in their struggle, which has been an inspiration to us all.

In Solidarity,

John David Blackburn, President AAUP-OSU

 

Letter of Support from the Cincinnati State AAUP Chapter

cincinnati state aaup

To Marty Kich and the members of WSU-AAUP:

The faculty of Cincinnati State AAUP stand in support of our colleagues at Wright State University and your resolve to achieve a fair contract that protects your collective bargaining rights.

Our one-week faculty strike in 2011 brought many challenges, and all of us who lived that experience can “feel your pain” as your strike continues. However, we don’t regret having taken a stand when it was essential, in order to preserve our collective bargaining rights and maintain the quality of education at our institution.

We know from experience that faculty don’t go on strike for raises– faculty go on strike when it’s the last and only way to demonstrate to trustees and administrators that faculty are dedicated to the mission of the institution– by doing what’s necessary to preserve the institutional attributes that allow faculty to offer the highest quality educational experiences for our students.

We ask that the Wright State trustees and administration return to the bargaining table in good faith, to negotiate a reasonable settlement that will bring an end to the strike.

We stand with the faculty in your fight for the future of education at Wright State University.

Pam Ecker
President, Cincinnati State AAUP

 

Voice of Allyship to AAUP-WSU from One Non-Union Faculty Member

This open letter was posted on the faculty listserve at Wright State by Julie L. Williams, Psy.D., ABPP, a Professor and Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist in the Wright State University-School of Professional Psychology. She has given permission to re-post it.

 

Good afternoon….

For the past 3 weeks, I have read the strike-related email threads, and like many I have stayed silent, perhaps in my own fear as we have been warned of consequences for showing solidarity as nonunion faculty.  Silence however, is not usual for me, as I am known for my speaking up.

So, here I go. I am writing to offer my voice of support for what it’s worth and in the spirit of solidarity to the Union. As a person, who is hard of hearing, Dwarf, deals with significant and ongoing healthcare related costs, I painfully understand the fear and powerlessness felt when being told someone or others will decide how and under what circumstances my benefits will change. I also recall the hurt I felt when I read WSU emails/reports of catastrophic healthcare spending creating budget problems–as if, it’s people like me with disabilities and chronic illnesses who created budget problems and burdening the system.

I am in awe of the union efforts and it gives me profound hope. Healthcare is real for everyone and we really want someone to fight for healthcare, not just people like me and unions. It’s a matter of life and death. I am moved and I gain hope when I see individuals standing and fighting for those rights. That is noble, and it is a current and present day issue. Even as a nonunion employee who will not benefit from this fight, I believe in what you are doing.

I remain and continue to verbalize my support to the union. Furthermore, I believe this fight has the power to benefit our students, who will some day work in institutions and be employees–and  administrators–and they will remember how one can and should fight for their rights and cultivate healthy work places for all..

I look forward to working with the union faculty again on the other side of this. In the meantime. I offer my voice of solidarity.

J

Julie L. Williams, Psy.D., ABPP.

Professor/Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist

Wright State University-School of Professional Psychology

 

#fighting4wright at the Ohio Statehouse and ODHE

On Friday, February 8, more than 75 Wright State AAUP members, members of Students4Faculty, and allies gathered first at the Ohio Statehouse and then at the Ohio Department of Higher Education to bring the causes of the three-week-long faculty strike directly to the attention of lawmakers.

At the Statehouse, Faculty Senate President Travis Doom and AAUP-WSU leaders Gretchen McNamara and Kate Excoffin talked about the brain drain that Wright State is experiencing due to the contract impasse and the eagerness of  striking faculty to get back to work, their students and research. Students Caitilyin Ward and Elyse Angle gave moving accounts of students’ hardships on account of the B term and the loss of GI bill assistance. They also talked about intimidation by the administration and suppression of free speech. The Chancellor of Higher Education Randy Gardner, Senator Tina Maharath, Rep Beth Liston, and Rep Allison Russo also attended in response to calls made by members.

The letters of support from the Democratic caucuses of the ohio Senate and the Ohio House were released in conjunction with this protest.

2019-02-08 1 Bus Ride to Columbus

Some people carpooled; others traveled in a chartered bus.

2019-02-08 2 At the Ohio Statehouse 1

AAUP-WSU members and supporters on the Statehouse steps.

2019-02-08 3 March from Statehouse to ODHE

Marching from the Statehouse to ODHE.

2019-02-08 4 At ODHE

Filling the lobby of the ODHE building.

 

Letter of Support for AAUP-WSU from the Democratic Caucus of the Ohio Senate

Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus

Board of Trustees

Wright State University

282 University Hall

Dayton, Ohio 45435

February 8, 2019

 

Dear Trustees,

We write in support of the Wright State University faculty who are exercising their ability to collectively bargain to protect the fair wages and benefits of workers.

We all have a shared interest in attracting top talent to Ohio and ensuring they are equipped with the means to support their families and plant roots here. Creating greater opportunity through access to health care, fair wages and benefits, and a seat at the bargaining table helps workers not only at Wright State, but across Ohio.

There is no question that Wright State faces financial challenges. Like other institutions of higher learning across Ohio, your university has not received the financial support it needs from the state. The state has not restored pre-recessionary levels of state share of instruction (SSI) per student, though the state’s budget has recovered.1 The state is sending less money per student to universities than we were over ten years ago, but we have expected you to cut costs and reduce prices.

However, the shortcoming of the state’s commitment to universities is not the only hurdle that Wright State has had to overcome. According to news reports, the university has encountered some financial issues of its own making, including a federal investigation into work visa violations, and various errors and poor fiscal management which more than make up for what the university was trying to conserve to avoid fiscal watch. The faculty are not responsible for these decisions, but it seems as though they are being asked to pay for them.

It is disheartening that while there is only one main point of difference between the two sides, they remain so far apart. It has been reported that the administration at Wright State wants to eliminate the ability of its professors to negotiate health care, which subverts their ability to collectively bargain on any other matter of cost or workload. Allowing the administration to balance any concessions by increasing premiums or reducing the quality of health care impedes the ability of the union to negotiate.

The undersigned members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus are united in our support of the ability to collectively bargain as a right that creates a better quality of life for all Ohioans.

Sincerely,

Kenny Yuko, Minority Whip 32nd Senate District

Cecil Thomas, Assistant Minority Leader 9th Senate District

Sandra Williams, Assistant Minority Whip, 21st Senate District

Teresa Fedor, State Senator, 11th Senate District

Nickie J. Antonio, State Senator, 23rd Senate District

Tina Maharath, State Senator, 3rd Senate District

Hearcel Craig State Senator, 15th Senate District

 

Letter of Support for AAUP-WSU from the Democratic Caucus of the Ohio House

Ohio House Democratic Caucus []

Board of Trustees

Wright State University

282 University Hall

Dayton, Ohio 45435

Feb. 6, 2019

 

Dear Trustees,

As members of the Ohio House of Representatives Democratic Caucus, we write in support of Wright State University (WSU) faculty and the Ohio Conference of American Association of University Professors as they work to protect their Ohio workers’ rights to fair pay and benefits through  collective bargaining.

When the Ohio legislature tried to limit the rights of working people through Senate Bill 5 in 2011, voters turned out in overwhelming numbers, successfully stopping the partisan attack because they know weakening worker’s rights hurts not only unions, but all Ohioans.

As lawmakers, we want to attract talented workers to our state and provide them with the opportunities they need to build a life for their families here. Access to health care, fair compensation, safe working conditions and ensuring hardworking people have a seat at the bargaining table not only strengthens our workforce, but our entire state’s economy.

We know that a quality education and quality teachers and professors are invaluable to the success of our state and the success of your institution. That’s why we respectfully urge you to return to the negotiating table.

Sincerely,

Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes

State Rep. Kristin Boggs

State Rep. Kent Smith

State Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson

State Rep. Brigid Kelly

State Rep. Beth Liston

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan

State Rep. Allison Russo

State Rep. Glenn Holmes

State Rep. Catherine Ingram

State Rep. David Leland

State Rep. Jessica E. Miranda

State Rep. Jack Cera

State Rep. Joseph Miller

State Rep. Michael O’Brien

State Rep. Thomas West

State Rep. Randi Clites

State Rep. Mary Lightbody

State Rep. Phillip M. Robinson, Jr.

State Rep. Tavia Galonski

State Rep. Sedrick Denson

State Rep. Lisa Sobecki

State Rep. Stephanie Howse

State Rep. Casey Weinstein

State Rep. Fred Strahorn