Oregon Tech Faculty Union Strike Begins

By Elizabeth Miller (Oregon Public Broadcasting) April 26, 2021

Photo from the Klamath Falls News

Oregon Tech-American Association of University Professors says a strike will continue until a deal is reached.

The union representing Oregon Institute of Technology faculty went on strike Monday.

The union and the university negotiated over the weekend, but they were not able to reach an agreement. The two parties have been in contract talks since fall 2019.

“We organized our union in record time and we’re the first faculty ever to go on strike in Oregon,” said Mark Clark, professor of history and OT-AAUP past president in a release shared Monday morning.

“I hope Oregon Tech’s senior administration is prepared to negotiate a similarly historic contract.”

In all, 92% of voting union members voted to authorize a strike, according to the union.

The union wants Oregon Tech to increase wages, provide secure benefits, and a ”clearly-defined workload” for faculty. The university has said it can’t afford the union’s compensation demands.

In a press release shared by the university Monday, officials say classes will proceed as faculty strike “with minimal disruption to classes or services.”

Last week, OIT filed a petition with the Oregon Employment Relations Board, requesting a faculty strike declared “unlawful.”

Oregon Tech officials said classes will be covered by other faculty, and that students should continue to attend classes unless otherwise notified.

At a Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, one of OIT’s student leaders said many students support the faculty.

In its statement, Oregon Tech asked the union to consider its “exceptional” offers.

“At this time when…universities and colleges are facing economic uncertainty, it is prudent for Oregon Tech Faculty to value an institution that has made such an offer, and work diligently to conclude negotiations,” according to the statement.

Monday morning, the union held demonstrations and rallies both in-person and virtually through an “online picket live stream” on Facebook, featuring stories from staff, students and alumni. The event ended with quotes from OIT faculty.

“Only with a fair contract can we retain and recruit faculty capable of advancing the mission of Oregon Tech,” read a message from humanities and social sciences professor Kyle Chapman.

The union says it will continue until an agreement is reached.

Showing Solidarity with East Liverpool Nurses Association

21 Nov. 2020   The East Liverpool Nurses Association, which is an ONA/AFT affiliate started a 3-day strike today after many months of bargaining.   You can support them by signing on to this online letter campaign that will send messages to the East Liverpool City Hospital’s Board of Trustees: https://p2a.co/RBjXS5T.  

East Liverpool Nurses Association goes on strike

  WTRF.COM East Liverpool Nurses Association goes on strike

Perspective: Retrenchment has been suffocating my voice, but I won’t let it

Gretchen McNamara, a senior lecturer of music Wright State University and union executive committee member for AAUP-WSU
Gretchen McNamara, a senior lecturer of music Wright State University and union executive committee member for AAUP-WSU

Wright State University plans to begin the retrenchment process that will result in workforce reductions. Elevate Dayton is publishing the perspectives of students, faculty, alumni and other Wright State community members that could be affected by the changes. Gretchen McNamara, a senior lecturer of music and union executive committee member, explores her torn feelings about simultaneously advocating for the university and calling out its leadership.

By Gretchen McNamara

Last week the administration at Wright State University triggered their contractual right to retrench faculty. What does that mean? They want to reduce the number of faculty on campus to save money. It feels like a direct contradiction to say, “Choose me, choose the School of Music, choose Wright State,” while simultaneously calling out management and the Board for their negligence and continued disservice to the university.

But you know what? I can. And I will. It’s BOTH, AND. Are there hard times ahead for Wright State with potential retrenchment? Yes. Is the trombone studio at Wright State a good place to land if you are a high school student wanting to pursue music in college? Yes. It’s BOTH, AND.

Management and the Board doesn’t define the quality of our programs, faculty does. We have a fierce passion for our discipline, our pedagogy and our students. I’m shouting loudly that it’s OK to choose Wright State even when it seems like things aren’t going well here. You know why? Because there are people, myself and countless others, fighting to make Wright State a viable place to study and a thriving institution for the foreseeable future. We fight because it’s the right thing to do. We fight at the program and departmental level, and we also fight as a faculty unit. We will fight by all means necessary. It’s BOTH, AND.

As a School of Music faculty member, I have a role and responsibility to recruit directly into our program and my trombone studio. I’m a good teacher and a strong pedagog in both trombone and music education. I care deeply for my students, their successes and their struggles. I want high school students to choose to study with me at Wright State at a time when it’s hard to find something positive to say about the institution’s leadership and management. At a time when I’m also responsible for fighting publicly against the actions of our upper administration and Board of Trustees. You see, I’m also an appointed officer in our local union chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). I’ve been active in our union since 2012 when efforts began to unionize non-tenure eligible (NTE) faculty on campus.

I came to my position at Wright State in 2007 with a terminal degree in music, 17 years of teaching experience in applied trombone, professional performance experience and five years of public school teaching experience as a high school band director. I was paid $10,000 less than the public school teaching position I left six years earlier, several thousand dollars less than my male colleagues both in and outside of the School of Music who were at the same instructor rank (only one of which had a doctorate) and I had no job security. Our first contract not only gave me job security, it also gave me a pay increase to a new contractual minimum salary for my rank. I could finally breathe. I knew where I would be the next year.

I have found union work to be equally rewarding to the work I do in the music department. It is why I joined the executive committee first as an NTE member-at-large as a new union sister. I then served two terms as secretary and digital communications officer. When we went on strike in 2019, I was a member of the negotiating team. I am now AAUP-WSU’s chief negotiator. I was appointed by Wright State’s AAUP chapter leadership, who value my voice and perspective and who trust me to communicate and advocate for the whole body of bargaining unit faculty. I don’t take this role lightly or do it alone. I do it with the support of my husband, my music colleagues, union brothers and sisters on and off-campus and the AAUP-WSU leadership team who has become a second family to me over the last several years.

Retrenchment may or may not get to me. Either way, I will fight AND I will continue to be who my students need me to be in the trombone studio, in our music education program, as a program advisor and as an artist educator. It’s BOTH, AND.

Where Does Tuition Go?

This event will feature speakers from Ohio, but the problems being faced by higher ed institutions in Ohio are clearly not exclusive to our state. So the event may clearly be of broader interest.

What created the current crisis in public higher education? Where does all the money spent on education go? 

COVID-19 is not the only culprit in this crisis. At this forum, students and faculty from across Ohio will analyze the misplaced budget priorities that led to the current financial crisis — and propose solutions.

Register at https://tinyurl.com/y3zt2ea4

Featuring the undergraduate collective behind www.BoldlyBankrupt.com, graduate student activists, the president of Ohio AAUP, and an account of how solidarity between students and faculty led to success in a recent faculty strike.

Together, students and faculty are taking collective action to address systemic failures in higher ed at both state and institutional level.

Join us! Register here: https://tinyurl.com/y3zt2ea4

Hashtags: #SaveOhioHigherEd #miamiuniversity #AkronU #OHDems #OhioGOP #OhioState  #OhioU #FundEducation #RedforEd 

Connect to:
@SaveOhioHigher1, @OHaaup,@AaupMiami, @osuaaup, @OU_AAUP, @AkronAAUP, @aaup, @TenureForCGood, @PHEWnetwork

Teaching Online with Creative Commons and Similar Tools: AAUP Zoom Workshop on Tuesday, August 11, at 1:00

AAUP IP Workshop
As we race to move our courses online, faculty are being pressured to upload their intellectual property to their college Learning Management System. We have to protect our intellectual property and need some easy-to-use tools to do so. In this professional development AAUP Zoom, three AAUP members well-versed in these issues will cover the principles, show us the tools, and also the Creative Commons licensing details. See attached Zoom flier. I’m copying the Zoom connection here but it is also in the flier.
(Note: Some in the CCCS chapters attended the initial version of this workshop on Tuesday and gave outstanding reviews of it.)

AAUP-WSU Workshops

P&T Workshop

Wednesday, February 19, noon to 2 pm

 113 Med Sci.

Distance Learning Workshops

Tuesday, February 25, 12:30 pm-1:50 pm and

Wednesday, February 26, 12:20 pm-1:15 pm

113 Med Sci

Interested in teaching online? Unsure of what the contract says about online teaching? Join Bobby Rubin, AAUP-WSU Contract Administrator, for a workshop designed to help you understand the contract as it pertains to online teaching. Learn about Standard, Program, and Special Demand Distance Learning classes, and the contractual rights, responsibilities, and protections you have when offering these classes.

 

 

Brandy Foster Receives the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in Community Engagement

Brandy Foster. who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and who serves on our Executive Committee as an at-large representative for NTE BUFMs, has received the presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in Community Engagement. Most BUFMs who were not acquainted with Brandy before last year’s strike got a firsthand chance to appreciate her enthusiasm, energy, and organizational skills during those three weeks. Although she is relatively new to our Executive Committee, she has been contributing in many imaginative ways to our efforts to move beyond the strike and to build in constructive ways on the sense of solidarity and shared purpose that it has fostered.

Brandy Foster

The Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence in Community Engagement recognizes a faculty member at any rank who has been instrumental in helping the university achieve its mission of transforming the communities it serves. For the purpose of this award, community engagement is defined as faculty work involving a partnership with the public that achieves university goals and benefits the community in a significant way. The award can recognize teaching, research and/or service that demonstrate the ways community partnerships (local, regional/state, national and global) can enhance learning and serve the public good.

The letter in support of Brandy’s nomination for the award from the College of Engineering and Computer Science provides a detailed description of the major ways in which Brandy has development important linkages between the university and the communities that it serves:

We are proud to support the nomination of Brandy Foster for the President’s Award for Faculty Excellence: Community Engagement Award. Through her work across a wide range of initiatives, Brandy exemplifies Wright State’s mission to transform the lives of our students and the communities we serve.

The ONEIL Center at Wright State University:  Brandy’s inspiration for what would become The ONEIL Center came from her own experience as an English major who had the opportunity to translate the skills from her academic program to new contexts when she was embedded in a Mechanical Engineering graduate research group as a technical editing intern. That experience changed the trajectory of her career and led her to develop a model for experiential learning opportunities for students from any academic program.  In 2017, twelve years after her own internship, she attracted a 5-year, $675,000 corporate gift from O’Neil & Associates, a Miamisburg-based company, to found The ONEIL Center. This company was impressed by her vision of providing meaningful internship opportunities and sees the center as creating a workforce development pipeline to it and to the Dayton region. Brandy serves as the center’s executive director.

The center, which is believed to be the first of its kind, provides on-campus internships to students from every college and both Wright State campuses. The center is unique in that it functions as a transdisciplinary and highly collaborative ecosystem in which students work together to support the small business and research communities. Over 40 students have had paid or unpaid internships to provide services such as proposal writing, marketing and branding, social media management, web development, technical graphics, project management, technical editing, coaching for public speaking, and more to small businesses, start-ups, non-profits, and campus organizations. Additionally, the center has funded a Computer Science graduate student through the Robert J. Heilman Fellowship to perform research related to augmented and virtual reality.

Engaging Dayton’s Startup Community: Leaders in Dayton’s vibrant startup community are very excited about the ways The ONEIL Center supports new and growing businesses with its affordable services and creation of a workforce development pipeline. Brandy has secured partnerships with The Entrepreneur Center (TEC), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), with The ONEIL Center being a client service provider referred to each of these organization’s clients–several thousand in number. The center’s model attracts businesses that support its mission to provide experiential learning, so these clients enjoy visiting the center and working with the students. The collaborative nature of the center extends to its clients, and Brandy and her students frequently host meetings to facilitate introductions among people pursuing complementary goals.

In addition to these partnerships, The ONEIL Center has been a valuable supporter of the annual TechStars Startup Week Dayton, especially through its named sponsorship of the Pitch Competition, during which startups compete for cash prizes and in-kind services to the winners. During the startup community’s most important annual event, Brandy volunteers as a moderator for fireside chats on the Main Stage, conducts multiple workshops and sessions, engages potential clients at the Resource Fair, and announces the winners of the Pitch Competition.

Given Brandy’s unique relationship to Dayton’s startup community, she has recently been sought as a collaborator on proposals, which benefit both her students and the community. For example, she has recently won federal funding to design and launch an internship pipeline to the medical technology startup ecosystem; another recent grant supports her students’ storytelling about Dayton’s new companies. In 2018, Brandy won a $225,000 defense subcontract on a project related to human performance; this work supports the defense community and has funded numerous undergraduate interns at a rate of $20/hour and Brandy’s first graduate research assistant. 

Engaging Community Organizations: Brandy works closely with the internship program in the College of Liberal Arts, her alma mater, to provide unpaid internships to students needing to meet program requirements for graduation. She works closely with these students to identify a campus or community organization that could benefit from their project and supervises their work. To date, students have completed projects supporting the Raider Food Pantry, TheZe Dealz Thrift Shop, eMerge (a minority-owned social entrepreneurship program), Emergency Services units, a Wright State Neuroscience capstone course, and a virtual museum dedicated to celebrating Black culture in the countries comprising the African diaspora.

Outside of her work in The ONEIL Center, Brandy has volunteered as the executive director of Simman Wound Care & Fellowships, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing research into therapies and technologies related to wounds, which impose a significant social and economic cost. Under her tenure as executive director, she recruited new board members, led the board in strategic planning, and planned and hosted the organization’s first major fundraisers.

In the Spring of 2019, Brandy was invited to be on the fundraising team to support Mr. Hernan Olivas’s candidacy for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year competition. Brandy helped to plan and host fundraising events and campaigns during the intense multi-week competition.

Given her diverse interests, Brandy has been sought for speaking engagements for various organizations, including the Dayton Think Tank, the Dayton Society of Professional Engineers, Antioch University’s panel on artificial intelligence, Wright State’s Masters of Public Health program, and many more. She was selected to deliver a talk on being a generalist in a specialist’s world at TedxDayton in October 2019.

Building a Better Community: Brandy is an active member of the District 10 Indivisible for All chapter and is a committed advocate for a more equitable community. She has participated in phone banks and has organized several postcard writing campaigns to raise awareness of issues and as part of a non-partisan effort to increase voter participation. During a few months in the Fall of 2018, Brandy and her family handwrote over 2500 postcards. As part of her volunteer work, she has shared her experience as a survivor of incest and sexual assault and subsequent mental health issues and provided mentorship to other survivors not as far along in their recovery. This work has positioned her to arrange an internship for a student in the Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies program, which will provide introductory activist organizing projects of great interest to the student and benefit to the community. 

Brandy has demonstrated her commitment to building a better community by volunteering to work on collaborative proposals of significant impact. For example, in 2018, Brandy assisted with the writing and project management of a proposal to the Ohio Third Frontier program. This successful effort was led by her colleague Dr. Thomas Wischgoll and involved a consortium of every institution of higher education in the region; as a result, the greater Dayton region benefited from an infusion of $975,000 in artificial and virtual reality equipment to support workforce development.

Those of us who work with Brandy know that she can be fearless in her eagerness to serve. This has never been more apparent than when she, on the basis of an informal conversation with a brand-new acquaintance, decided to pursue the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition for a single, $100 million grant with the potential to provide economic revitalization, new jobs, clean energy, more democratic forms of transportation, and international attention to Dayton.  With fewer than 5 weeks before the submission deadline and no one else stepping up to lead, Brandy built a team that includes Wright State and many departments and units, the City of Dayton, SOCHE, Third Sector Capital Partners in Boston, and numerous startups and non-profits. Her enthusiasm for the project and her can-do attitude carried the massive project to submission, and the team has learned that its proposal has now successfully made it through the first review. 

The sheer breadth of Brandy’s community engagement is impressive, but her impact on workforce development for both students and the communities we serve exemplifies Wright State’s critical role in the region.