Letter to President Schrader from Kent State University’s AAUP Chapter

aaup-ksu logo [1]

January 15, 2019

Dear Dr. Schrader,

The Kent State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors stands in support of the faculty at Wright State University and the AAUP-WSU. The WSU faculty highly value their students and the WSU community and do not wish to strike; however, the faculty cannot be expected to continue working in the current environment at WSU.

The responsibility for the financial problems at WSU is solely with the administration’s mishandling of resources. It is unfortunate that the administration insists on passing this burden onto the faculty, students, and community members who will also suffer from the breakdown in transparency and trust that is so vital between faculty and administration. Repairing this relationship is of the utmost importance.

The KSU-AAUP finds it disingenuous that within the imposed contract the administration has nullified workload agreements, can now arbitrarily assign merit pay, and has threatened the job security and promotion eligibility of the non-tenure eligible faculty. The provisions for merit pay and NTE job security were not necessary for the financial sustainability of WSU and demonstrate a lack of consideration for the expert faculty who have dedicated their careers to the university and students of WSU. Imposing a contract that removes the faculty ability to bargain healthcare, imposes furlough days, allows adjunct faculty to receive summer assignments over full-time faculty, and in essence forces pay cuts onto the faculty, requires that the faculty strike. The AAUP-KSU believes the faculty at WSU have no current recourse but to strike.

At Kent State University, the AAUP and faculty body value the open communication and respectful relationships we share with the administration. A university cannot operate without faculty and students cannot learn and fulfill their potential without the knowledge and expertise of the faculty. We encourage the WSU administration to return to the bargaining table and work with your faculty to establish a fair contract that is good for everyone and to come together to solve your problems. We ask that you please reconsider the imposed contract and work to renew your relationship with the faculty. It is best for everyone.

AAUP-KSU Chapter

 

Letter from BGSU-FA to President Schrader

bgsu-fa

January 14, 2019

Dear Dr. Schrader,

We are writing to express our support for the faculty of Wright State University and the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors in their demand for the WSU administration to bargain in good faith for a fair contract.

We understand that WSU faculty do not want to strike. They value their students and want to ensure that students complete their degree requirements and graduate in a timely manner. However, we also understand that faculty cannot be expected to provide high-quality learning experiences under unfair working conditions and without fair compensation.

It has been disheartening to watch the negotiations at WSU proceed at an unacceptably slow pace over the past two years, then break down completely resulting in the present impasse and impending faculty strike. At every stage, the WSU administration has sought to shift responsibility for the financial burdens of the university onto faculty, despite the fact that the university’s financial problems overwhelmingly stem from administrative mismanagement. Shortly before the WSU-AAUP voted to strike, the WSU Board of Trustees voted to impose a “last best offer” contract that nullifies previous workload agreements; introduces arbitrary awarding of merit pay; lengthens service requirements for non-tenure eligible faculty to qualify for continuing appointments; removes the right of faculty to bargain over healthcare; enables the administration to impose furloughs in the form of “cost saving days” and retain sole decision-making power over summer teaching assignments; prevents faculty salaries from keeping up with rates of inflation; and introduces an early retirement program that lacks any safety measures to prevent the delay or elimination of new faculty appointments following an early retirement.

In light of the objectionable provisions contained in the contract that the WSU Board of Trustees seeks to impose on faculty, we believe the reasons for faculty rejection of this imposed contract and vote in favor of a strike are completely justified. We support our faculty colleagues and the WSU-AAUP in their decision to strike, and we urge the WSU administration to return to the bargaining table in good faith to negotiate a new contract that supports, rather than punishes, faculty. At Bowling Green State University, we have found that when administrators and faculty work together to identify shared interests and collaborate to find mutually agreeable solutions, the outcome improves faculty working conditions, streamlines administrative procedures, and facilitates better relations between the faculty and university administration as a whole.

However, this process cannot work if one side seeks to impose its will on the other, which is what we see the WSU administration attempting to do to faculty.

A university is truly only as strong as its faculty, and WSU cannot cultivate a strong faculty by curtailing their participation in decision-making about the terms and conditions of employment that impact their professional lives and livelihoods. We encourage the WSU administration to abandon the imposed contract approved by the Board of Trustees and instead work to re-start negotiations with faculty to find mutually beneficial solutions to the problems currently facing the university.

Best regards, The BGSU-FA

 

David Jackson, President

Stephen Demuth, Vice President

Amy Fry, Treasurer

Vera Lux, Membership

Joel O’Dorisio, Non-tenure Track Faculty Representative

Megan Rancier, Communications

Philip Stinson, Contract Administration and Grievance Officer

 

AAUP-WSU Members Vote to Strike against WSU; Strike to Begin January 22

January 14, 2019

Contact: Noeleen McIlvenna, 202-258-0879, mcilvenna2016@gmail.com

Contact: Marty Kich, 419-303-4619, martinkich@gmail.com

Contact: Rudy Fichtenbaum, 937-620-7430, rfichtenbaum@gmail.com

On Sunday, January 13, AAUP-WSU completed a strike authorization vote in response to the WSU Board of Trustees unilaterally imposing an unfair labor contract on January 4. AAUP-WSU had already filed an intent-to-strike notice with the State Employment Relations Board, but the final decision on whether to strike was dependent on a democratic vote of its members.

85% of voters authorized a strike, and 95% of eligible voters did vote. The strike will begin on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 8:00am.

The contract imposed by the administration will make it more difficult for faculty to offer individualized attention to students who most need it. It will reduce the percentage of students completing their degrees or completing them in a timely manner. And it will reduce the quantity and the quality of the research and scholarship produced by the faculty, undermining the academic reputation of our University and eroding the value of the degrees that our students are earning and that our alumni have already earned.

The faculty are committed to meeting the educational needs of the students in the Dayton region who depend on our providing an affordable education and a pathway to career opportunities that might otherwise be out of their reach.

Marty Kich (President of AAUP-WSU) said: “Administrators and Boards come and go. But most faculty will spend their entire careers at Wright State. We have a deep interest in the long-term viability of our University and are devoted to its academic mission. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, and the value of the degrees that our students earn is defined in no small measure by the professional contributions of our faculty.”

Kich added: “Like the teachers in the ‘Red for Ed’ movements nationwide, our faculty are standing together to uphold the principle that public education serves the public good. We want to preserve faculty’s role in making decisions about the University. No one who has been following what has been happening at Wright State in recent years can possibly think the administration or Trustees need more power.”

Rudy Fichtenbaum (Chief Negotiator for AAUP-WSU and President of National AAUP) said, “Our members have voted to reject not only the language itself but the administration/Board’s skewed idea of negotiation, in which their proposals cannot be discussed but can, at most, be traded off against one another. That is not fair dealing in any sense of the phrase.”

About AAUP-WSU

 AAUP-WSU – the American Association of University Professors, Wright State University Chapter – is the union representing all full-time WSU faculty (excepting only administrators) with appointments in WSU’s primary academic colleges on both the Dayton and Celina campuses. [These colleges are the Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science; Education and Human Services; Liberal Arts; Nursing and Health; Science and Mathematics; the Lake Campus; and the Raj Soin College of Business.]

Collective bargaining for WSU’s tenured and tenure-eligible faculty began in spring 1998 and was expanded to include non-tenure-eligible faculty in fall 2012, both via secret ballot votes overseen by Ohio’s State Employment Relations Board.

About AAUP

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.

 

Letter to President Schrader from Claudio Fugo, President of the California State Conference of AAUP

ca aaup

January 13, 2019

To: WSU President Cheryl Schrader Dear President Schrader,

The California Conference of the American Association of University Professors (CA-AAUP), representing over 1700 university faculty in California, is gravely concerned about WSU’s unilateral imposition of a contract on full-time teaching faculty represented by AAUP-WSU. The unilateral imposition was based on a 2017 Fact Finder report that painted a hyperbolically bleak picture of the state of the university which was rejected by 97.5% of WSU faculty.

An analysis of publicly available financial data confirms that all of WSU’s budget problems are self-created and due to bad management of resources by the Board of Trustees. In addition, compensation and benefits of the full-time teaching faculty constitute 17% of the university’s budget. So, spending on faculty lines has clearly not created the budget problems and those problems cannot be solved in any significant way by a punitive contract with faculty.

Your faculty has shown a willingness to share in carrying a part of the burden the Board of Trustees and your administration have created by offering a menu of permanent and short- term financial concessions. You have chosen to ignore them and have now imposed a contract that shows no appreciation for your faculty and only displays a desire to unload the burden of administrative and Board mistakes on them, using the mess you and the Board of Trustees have created as a justification.

We strongly invite you to rescind your irresponsible decision and invite AAUP-WSU back to the table of negotiation.

Sincerely, Claudio Fogu

President CA-AAUP

 

Jesse Drew (VP for University of California)

Steve Filling (California Faculty Association South)

Antonio Gallo California Faculty Association South)

Katie Graham (VP for California Community Colleges)

Rosalinda Quintanar (VP for California State Univerity)

Alex Zukas (VP for Private Universities and Colleges)

 

Local Elected Officials Urge WSU Administration to Return to Bargaining Table

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:   John McManus

                        (937) 260-1740

                        john.s.mcmanus@gmail.com

McManus, Culp call on Board, Administration to invest in employees

DAYTON, Ohio – In response to ongoing coverage of an impending employee strike at Wright State University, Dayton Board of Education Member John McManus and Miami Township Trustee Don Culp are urging Wright State’s leadership to return to the negotiations with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

“Wright State University is a critically important institution in our region,” said McManus. “The nearly 150,000 people that I represent want Wright State to remain in a strong position. The children and families that I serve are counting on educational options for their future, and WSU plays a vital role in local educational opportunity.”

McManus, a Democrat, and Culp, a Republican, share the opinion that the responsibility for settlement ultimately falls on the university’s administration and board of trustees.

“Wright State leadership is in a unique position to reestablish the community’s trust and confidence here, “ said Culp. “Embracing their employees in a collaborative manner will send a signal to my nearly 52,000 constituents that WSU remains a reliable institution in the greater Dayton region.”

Culp and McManus state that it is important for elected officials to make their voices heard during times of acute contention in the community.

“Obviously, we’re not part of the negotiations,” said McManus, “but Trustee Culp and I represent over 200,000 residents of Montgomery County who want to see Wright State get back on track and out of the headlines.”

Culp asserts that Wright State University not only plays a vital role in local education, but also acts as a major asset in the region’s economic development.

“The Miami Valley must remain focused on sustained economic and workforce development,” said Culp. “Without a thriving Wright State, our region’s prospects for growth would be undoubtedly diminished.”

john mcmanusdon culp

John McManus                                                     Don Culp

 

AAUP-WSU Files Unfair Labor Practice and Motion to Expedite Investigation

Please ask your colleagues, professional contacts, family, and friends to sign our petition of support and then to share the link on their own social media sites and with their own contact lists:

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-wright-state-faculty

 

Unfair Labor Practice Charge (AAUP Wright State Univ.) Jan 10, 2019

Motion to Expedite Investigation (AAUP Wright State Univ.) Jan 10, 2019

And here is part of a related item reported by Rhonda Moore for FOX45Now/WKEF/WRGT:

While a possible faculty strike looms at Wright State University, a new controversy has sparked over an email sent by the university’s Human Resources Department.

The school asked faculty members to tell them if they’ll be walking the picket line. The union said that’s illegal, and is calling the email “fear mongering”.

A Wright State spokesman said the university is sure the email is legal, that it did not break the law.

“This was a sort of union busting move,” American Association of University Professors’ Noeleen McIlvenna said.

Noeleen McIllvenna is the union spokeswoman. She said the sore spot was asking employees if they intend to work or not during a strike.

“The part of it that was really scary was they said, ‘If we don’t hear from you, we will assume you will be on strike on January 22, and we’ll stop paying you salary and benefits,'” said McIlvenna.

The union then sent its members another email.

“To point out that we had contacted our attorney and that there was absolutely no basis to this threat,” she said.

ABC 22/FOX 45 showed the human resource email to a third party, an independent labor attorney.

“In my opinion, I don’t think it’s legal,” attorney John Doll said.

Doll said Wright State can communicate with its employees about proposals during negotiations.

“This is well past the proposal stage, now we’re in a situation where the faculty is in the process of taking a strike vote,” he said.

He believes that’s unlawful interference.

“They’re trying to intimidate people by dealing directly with them and that’s a further violation,” Doll said.

The complete article is available at: fox45now.com/news/local/email-sparks-controversy-as-wright-state-faculty-considers-going-on-strike.