On January 4, the Board of Trustees voted to impose a “last best offer” – an imposed contract. AAUP-WSU is a member-driven organization; therefore, the Executive Committee has decided that the RCMs should have another opportunity to authorize a strike.
The unanimous recommendation of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee is to reject the imposed contract by authorizing a strike.
The imposed contract would be overwhelmingly negative for faculty, students, alumni and the community. Before we review the particulars, it is imperative that we emphasize that now is the time to take a stand, because if you won’t strike, EVERYTHING they have imposed will likely remain imposed FOREVER. Indeed, when CBA negotiations start again in January 2020, the imposed contract will be the default language, and default language takes power to change.
What follows is a brief summary of each article in which the admin/Board imposed their language. Note that the Board’s Resolution is NOT the contract they are imposing, so one must read the actual imposed contract that begins on page six of
For WORKLOAD, the admin/Board nullified our workload agreements altogether. They have claimed the right to assign workloads to faculty in any way they want. Faculty spread thinner hurts the quality of education our students receive. Don’t be fooled by the admin/Board’s suggestion that they will be guided by a policy of the Senate. After all, in 2012 the Senate passed a workload policy for NTE faculty, and the administration promptly rejected it and imposed their own; that’s why the NTE faculty unionized. Likewise, for TET BUFMs, the admin/Board would have imposed a higher teaching load when WSU was converting to semesters. For all BUFMs, only our signed MOUs protect us against arbitrary and capricious workload assignments.
For MERIT PAY, the admin/Board has imposed language that would give Deans and Chairs total discretion to allocate merit pay to anyone having a 2.0 overall annual evaluation score, a standard met by nearly all BUFMs. Transparency is eliminated and merit pay (which now may mean one-time bonuses) will be awarded arbitrarily. Who will question or protest a decision of their chair or dean? Who will file a grievance? Your next chair or dean may not be someone you trust. In practice, academic freedom is at risk!
Combined with the elimination of the workload MOU, subjective merit pay empowers administrators to assign more service as well as more teaching. This in turn will diminish the quality of our work in those two categories and also reduce scholarly productivity. BUFMs will find it more difficult to meet standards for promotion. The cumulative impact over one’s career and into retirement will be substantial. Worse, the impact on our students and our University’s reputation will be incalculable. Students cannot receive the individualized attention they need. The reputation of any university depends on the research output of the faculty. The value of a Wright State decreases if the teaching and service load of the faculty increases.
For NTE PROMOTION AND JOB SECURITY, the imposed contract means that NTE BUFMs not already on a continuing appointment cannot attain one unless they have “nine or more years of service … [AND] have been appointed or promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer or Clinical Assistant Professor.” In fact, no new Instructor will be eligible for a continuing appointment for at least twelve years. The old CBA provided continuing appointments after six years. This immediately impacts at least sixty of our colleagues, who now face very indefinite futures.
If we let this stand, our union will have sold out sixty-plus current and all future NTE colleagues. Plus, the administration will have even less incentive to hire TET faculty. Altogether, this will make shared governance and academic freedom more tenuous for all, for faculty vulnerable to job loss cannot be expected to challenge poor decision making of Board or administration. The Factfinder made clear these provisions for merit pay and NTE job security were not necessary for the financial sustainability of WSU. These changes represent a clear power grab by the admin/Board.
For HEALTH CARE, the imposed contract gives us the healthcare plan imposed on the staff — the worst among public universities in Ohio — and permits the admin/Board to impose additional changes with 60 days’ notice, taking away our right to bargain over healthcare. Overall, BUFMs will immediately suffer an effective pay cut of more than 4%.
Premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket maximums will increase significantly for everyone. For example:
For a faculty member earning $75,000 with a family on the 80/20 plan, monthly premiums will increase from $326 to $472, an increase of 45%, and the yearly deductible increases from $500 to $1600, an increase of 220%. The yearly out of pocket maximum increases from $3500 to $8000, an increase of 128%.
For a family on the HDHP, monthly premiums increase from $230 to $416, an increase of 80%. The yearly out of pocket maximum increases from $4,000 to $6,000, an increase of 50%. The administration’s annual contribution to your health savings account is reduced from $2,000 to $1,000, a reduction of 50%.
In both examples, if your spouse is on your plan, you will also pay a surcharge of $68/month, even if your spouse is not eligible for health coverage elsewhere.
Prescription coverage will be much worse, too – up to $200 per prescription for a specialty drug (if it is covered at all).
For our current coverage, see
and for the imposed plans
For FURLOUGHS, the imposed contract would empower the admin/Board to declare an unlimited number of “cost savings days.” We cannot measure how much income you might lose, because the Board’s recommendation that cost savings days be limited to two per semester is not in the imposed contract. Since the imposed contract requires that cost savings days be implemented “in a manner that does not interrupt academic … functions,” you will be forced to work without pay.
For SUMMER TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS, the imposed contract gives the administration the right to deny summer teaching to any BUFM, without explanation. They could assign all summer teaching to adjunct faculty.
For RAISES, there is no money to offset the losses we will take in healthcare, furloughs, and summer teaching assignments—never mind the real cut in pay due to inflation. Since we have not received any raises for five of the last eight years, the impact of our salaries’ not even keeping up with inflation is far from incidental for our current faculty. But it also makes it much more difficult to recruit new faculty.
For EARLY RETIREMENT, we don’t object in principle to a program of this nature, but the admin/Board included no provisions to prevent this program from being abused by the use of retirees to delay the appointment of new BUFMs or even eliminate existing BUFM positions entirely.
For the above reasons, it is the unanimous recommendation of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee that members vote to reject the imposed contract by authorizing a strike.
Voting will open 7pm on Tuesday, January 8. You will receive a Survey Monkey ballot by email.
We will have a meeting of all RCMs to discuss this matter on Friday, January 11, at 11:00 am. This is before the semester begins to ensure that teaching and other university duties will not prohibit your participation.
On Monday, January 7, our attorney will file a formal strike notice with Ohio SERB (State Employment Relations Board). This prompt filing will provide great flexibility in timing a strike, which will of course be contingent upon the results of the vote. Our attorney will also file an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the admin/Board, because they failed to negotiate before imposition.
As always, we are ready to negotiate.