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AAUP-WSU Response to the Fact-Finder’s Brief [PDF]
The unanimous recommendation of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee is to REJECT the report. The Fact Finder’s report (attached) was overwhelmingly negative for faculty. The Fact Finder decided in favor of the administration/Board on most unresolved issues– including retrenchment, workload, healthcare, furloughs, summer teaching rights, and raises.
What follows is a brief summary of each article that was before the Fact Finder with page references to his report. They are listed in order of importance.
For RETRENCHMENT, the Fact Finder recommended that “it would seem beneficial to the Parties, based on the current impact of the Senate Bill 6 scoring, that that component [SB6 score of 2.4] be included in the existing criteria that includes, fiscal exigency; significant reduction in enrollment over four (4) or more academic semester[s]; and, the discontinuation of a College, Department or Program” (pp. 82-84). In addition, he reduced the review period from 60 to 30 days and gave new power to the president in the retrenchment process. This would make tenure and continuing appointments meaningless– immediately. Any faculty member could be laid off.
For WORKLOAD, the Fact Finder reports: “Here, the current financial state the University, for various reasons, finds itself in, provides compelling reasons… wherein the determination of ‘Workload’ is viewed as an inherent Management Right” (pp. 99-100). This makes null and void our workload agreement MOU and gives administration total control over how many courses any individual faculty member teaches. If we accept this Fact Finder’s report, we are conceding to them a new management right. Combined with Retrenchment (above), the Administration could lay off many of the fulltime teaching faculty and give the rest many more classes to teach. We know how harmful this would be in effect for students.
For HEALTHCARE, the Fact Finder states that “the overwhelming evidence of record concerning the financial picture for this University warrants, even on a temporary basis for the duration of this [contract], drastic and immediate changes in the way in which this particular benefit is handled for this specified duration. Given the difficulty in implementing any plan on a University-wide basis, the implementation date for this recommendation be January 1, 2019 and run for the duration of the [contract] as recognized and proposed by the University” (pp. 125-126). This gives us the healthcare plan imposed on the staff– the worst in the state– and gives the administration/Board the right to impose additional changes with 60 days’ notice, taking away our right to bargain over healthcare.
For FURLOUGHS, “the number of days subject to this recommendation [includes] … two (2) Cost-Savings Days/Furlough Days per semester” (p. 135). These furlough days amount to an annual 2% pay cut for us.
For SUMMER TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS, the Fact Finder recommends “the Parties adopt the University’s proposal with respect [to] Article 7” (p. 64). This gives the administration/Board the right to deny summer teaching to Bargaining Unit Faculty. Courses taught each summer could be solely offered to adjunct faculty.
For RAISES, the Fact Finder recommends that “there be no wage increases for the duration of the [contract]” (p. 106). Also, he recommends “no increases and/or decreases in minimum salaries for the duration of the [contract]” (p. 108). There is no money to offset the losses we will take in healthcare, furloughs, summer teaching assignments—never mind the real cut in pay due to inflation.
For NTE PROMOTION, the Fact Finder wrote: “given the manner in which certain other issues at impasse have been addressed in this Report, wherein such affords the University more drastic measures to implement, there seems to be no compelling reason to recommend the University’s proposal in this regard. As such, the recommendation of the status quo is supported” (p. 74). Thus, the requirements for continuing appointments for NTE faculty remain the same.
For MERIT PAY, the Fact Finder wrote, “as such, a recommendation for the status quo is hereby recommended” (p. 69). He did not give administration total control of merit pay.
For EARLY RETIREMENT, the Fact Finder stated, “it is hereby recommended the Parties ‘agree in principal’ to the concept of offering early retirement to those who may be interested; however, subject to the Parties reaching some kind of agreement with respect to the framework of such a program” (p. 139). The Fact Finder has left this to the parties to negotiate.
The Fact Finder was clearly influenced by the hyperbolic arguments made by the administration’s labor attorney, arguments that President Schrader and members of the Board walked back at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting.
For the above reasons, it is the unanimous recommendation of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee that members vote to REJECT the report.
NOTE: When you read the actual Fact Finder’s report, “Successor Collective Bargaining Agreement” means the new CBA.
AAUP-WSU Fact-Finding Brief, Fact-Finding Powerpoint, and Baker-Hostetler Invoices:
PDFs of Documents Related to Outstanding Issues:
AAUP-WSU, which represents all full-time teaching faculty in the university’s seven undergraduate colleges, has been attempting to negotiate a fair contract since January 2017. Indeed, on a timetable agreed to by both sides, we had exchanged all non-economic articles (the bulk of the contract) by late March 2017. But when Dr. McCray was appointed Interim President, the administration postponed negotiations until President Schrader took office in July and then delayed them indefinitely until the administration/Board could address its largely self-created financial crisis. For the first time ever, the administration hired an outside labor attorney to conduct the negotiations, and two things quickly became clear: the administration wanted us to allow regressive bargaining, or to restart the negotiations from scratch, and their idea of compromise was that they might not get absolutely everything that they wanted. AAUP-WSU finally forced the administration back to the table by filing for fact-finding. With fact-finding looming, tentative agreement was reached on about two-thirds of the contract articles in a series of marathon negotiating sessions in December 2017 and January 2018. What is important to note is that every change in those articles represents a concession made by AAUP-WSU.
Our position all along has been that since the base salaries and benefits of the faculty whom we represent account for just 17% of the university budget—or 17 cents of every dollar of tuition and state subsidy—overspending on the faculty who generate almost all of the university’s revenue very clearly did not cause the financial crisis, and cutting that part of the budget will not address the crisis in any meaningful way. Therefore, the extreme proposals of the administration on the dozen or so unresolved elements of the contract seem simply to use a largely self-created financial crisis as an opportunity to gut key provisions in our contract. Although the university’s financial issues can be addressed in the near term, the administration’s proposals will adversely affect the long-term earnings of our members and further erode their working conditions and employment security. Just to be clear, in several instances, the administration is asking for rollbacks of contract provisions that now provide protections which are routine for university faculty throughout Ohio, indeed nationwide, even where faculty are not unionized.
Most Wright State faculty spend their whole careers at this university. They have a vested interest in advancing not only their own careers but in sustaining and boosting the reputation of the university. Likewise, although administrations and Boards of Trustees come and go, students who receive their degrees at Wright State will be alumni/ae for the rest of their lives. Given our students’ investment in those degrees, we need to protect and, where possible, to enhance the university’s academic programs and reputation in order to safeguard the value of the degrees that they have earned—and that many of them will be paying for well into their working lives. But, since early in 2016, we have had a net loss of 92 full-time teaching positions. As a result, students are facing both restrictions on course offerings in their majors and fewer sections of high-demand core courses. Such changes impair student recruitment, retention, and degree completion, and they diminish the value of the degrees earned.
The administration’s draconian proposals on salary and benefits will make it harder to attract faculty. The changes in health coverage imposed on other university employees have made those benefits the most costly at any public university in Ohio. The lack of any wage increases for the foreseeable future will place Wright State faculty at every rank at or near the bottom among Ohio’s public universities within the next two years. These financial considerations, in combination with proposals to undermine radically job security of even tenured faculty, will make it much harder for the university to attract talented faculty and to maintain the morale and the commitment of current faculty.
The faculty represented by AAUP-WSU have been making compromises to avoid a strike, but the administration’s refusal to compromise on a fairly large number of extreme proposals may give us no alternative but to strike. Given the degraded conditions under which we have been working for several years, we have earned and demand—
That the Schrader administration and the Board acknowledge our legal right to bargain over healthcare benefits and provide insurance that does not burden the sick and the lowest paid employees, largely to make up for revenue losses elsewhere;
That the Schrader administration and the Board accept the current retrenchment language, which is standard at unionized and non-unionized universities nationwide, and not reduce tenure to an empty promise;
That the Schrader administration and the Board maintain our workload agreement, which has not only been fair but has also led to a marked increase in research and scholarship, enhancing the university’s reputation;
That the Schrader administration and the Board maintain the educational quality of courses offered in the summer and not attempt to turn the summer into even more of a revenue generator than it already is—or would be if it were not mismanaged;
That the Schrader administration and the Board maintain a merit pay formula, which insures that faculty productivity is measured and rewarded by some objective measures rather than by administrative whim;
That the Schrader administration and the Board recognize that continuing contracts for NTE faculty have a very positive impact on the education provided by the university and that entrenching the contingency of faculty has exactly the opposite effect;
Finally, that the Schrader administration and the Board recognize that it cannot continue to spend millions on initiatives that have uniformly failed to generate the promised additional revenue streams, that it cannot continue cutting the budgets of the colleges without eroding the quality of education being provided to our students, and it cannot compound these skewed priorities by proposing furloughs, which are simply pay cuts for faculty, on top of its proposals for stagnant salaries and massive increases in benefit costs.
–Summary of Issues Resolved and Issues Before the Fact-Finder
This document contains the proposals the administration submitted to the fact-finder for the initial hearing (January 31-February 1, 2018). The administration subsequently revised two of these proposals, specifically for Article 17 (Retrenchment) and Appendix I (Furlough, renamed Cost Savings Days). In addition, the parties reached tentative agreement (TA) on three of these proposals — Article 27 (Life and Disability Insurance), Article 31 (Other Benefits), and Article 7 (Faculty Rights and Responsibilities) except for the parts dealing with summer school (Section 7.8 and subsections). This additional document contains all the articles the parties have TA’d (tentatively agreed to), except for the aforementioned Article 27 (Life and Disability Insurance) and Article 31 (Other Benefits). [You may also review this Summary of Fact-Finding prepared shortly after the May 23 final Fact-Finding session. Alternatively, see this slightly shorter summary of Fact-Finding prepared for the Ohio Conference of AAUP.]