Wright State Faculty and Students Need Your Support!

Wright State faculty and students need your support. Right now, the stakes at Wright State have never been higher— over the past several years, our students, the local workforce, and the region’s economy have been harmed by the administration’s poor stewardship. And now that this administration has exhausted the financial resources of the university on initiatives unrelated to its educational mission, it intends to recapture this lost money through cuts to faculty and programs. The one thing standing in their way is a faculty contract that protects the educational mission of the university.

You may have heard that the faculty union, AAUP-WSU, is moving toward a strike.  The faculty at Wright State do not want to strike, but feel that they may have no other option. The situation is indeed that dire. What you might not know is that the base salaries and benefits of the WSU faculty—who generate almost all of the university’s revenue—account for just 17% of the university’s budget. But, since early 2016, we’ve suffered a net loss of 92 full-time teaching positions. We cannot allow our students to suffer from the inevitable decline in quality if faculty are forced to teach more and even larger classes, if critical courses are offered much less frequently, and if WSU is unable to recruit and retain the best educators and researchers.

There’s still time to avoid a strike. Sign your name and send President Schrader and the WSU Board of Trustees a clear message: the students, alumni, and the community are standing behind the faculty. We will not allow the administration’s poor stewardship of the University fall on the backs of faculty and students. End this contract impasse now, and return to the table to negotiate a fair contract with faculty.

Please sign our petition, expressing your support for our efforts to get a fair contract:  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-wright-state-faculty.

Please share the petition with your colleagues, family, and friends, and please ask your chapter leadership to share it with all of your chapter members. What happens at our university may become a harbinger of what will happen at your college or university.

Thank you for any support that you can provide.

 

If you would like a fuller explanation of the issues involved in our extended contract impasse, you are welcome to look through the materials available on our chapter website: https://aaup-wsu.org/strike-related-materials/.

If you would like to know how our administration wasted $130 million in reserves over four years, you can get some sense of the misplaced priorities in these posts–open letters to our former president and our board of Trustees–to our old chapter blog, which are now archived on our new website:

https://thewebsiteofwrightstateuniversitysaaupchapter.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/003-april-11-open-letter-to-hopkins-and-board-of-trustees.pdf

https://thewebsiteofwrightstateuniversitysaaupchapter.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/004-aaup-recommendations-for-addressing-budget-shortfalls.pdf

 

Health Care Summary

The board/administration want our members on the same health care plans the rest of the university is forced to use – source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/Exhibits%20_A-N(from%20admin)(OCR)(annotated).pdf (Article 26, Exhibit H).

The board/administration unilaterally canceled the PPO 90/10 option for non-bargaining unit employees, and significantly degraded their 80/20 and HDHP options. Below, we offer a comparison of our current plan to the non-union/staff plan.

80-20 Plan

Our monthly premiums would increase significantly. See the table below for details.

80-20 Plan [2]

HD DP [1]

Our members on the HDHP would see decreased contributions from the university to their Health Savings Accounts.

HD DP [2]

The administration/board wants to reserve the right to make changes to plan coverage and rates on short notice. Simply put, the proposed changes to our healthcare are absolutely huge in terms of negative economic impact to our members.

Contemplate the cumulative effect of these increased costs over 3, 5, 10, or 20 years.

Summary

Beyond the obvious huge increases, the administration’s proposal shifts the burden to the sick and to the lowest-paid. It is clear why unilateral changes to our healthcare arrangements are not acceptable.

 

Furlough Summary: Administration Term–“Cost Savings Days”

The board/administration want to impose furlough (non-paid) workdays on faculty. Source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/APPX-I-admin- revised(OCR).PDF

The university could institute a furlough of 10 non-paid days in a fiscal year. Source: https://policy.wright.edu/policy/8470-furlough-leave

The conditions include…

A composite SB 6 score of less than 2.40 within a 24-month period….

…which is the current state of WSU. We would still be expected to complete any teaching, research, and service requirements.

 

What a Furlough Means to Us:

 Financial impact:

10 furlough days would cost you 5.128% of your annual base salary

Base Salary/Year     Furlough Days     Impact to You

$50,000   10 $2,564 pay cut
$75,000   10 $3,846 pay cut
$100,000   10 $5,128 pay cut

If you have a different base salary, multiply by your yearly base salary * 5.128% to calculate the negative financial impact of 10 furlough days.

Summary

A furlough is the equivalent of stealing your money and would be implemented at the University’s discretion. We must reject this proposed furlough language.

 

Impact of Retrenchment Proposal

The board/administration wants to alter the Retrenchment procedures.

Source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/ART-17-admin- revised(OCR).pdf

 

What is the proposed change to the Retrenchment Article?

 The potential TERMINATION of a Bargaining Unit Faculty Member during ANY appointment (even tenured or continuing) when WSU has a sub-2.40 financial score over the most recent 24-month period – or RIGHT NOW.

Under the administration’s proposal:

Retrenchment procedures can become active immediately, the day the Factfinder Report is accepted.

Bargaining Unit Faculty Members would lose this key provision: would no longer be offered available faculty positions for which they are fully qualified or for which they can become fully qualified within the period of their notification of termination; further, the University would no longer have to consider BUFMs for a non-faculty position as an alternative to termination.

 

What the Retrenchment Proposal Means:

 Tenure has no meaning. Continuing status has no meaning. This proposal puts every faculty member at risk.

Summary

This proposal allows the university to terminate faculty with a low burden of proof and must be rejected.

 

Summer Teaching Assignment Impacts

The board/administration wants to completely eliminate our Summer Teaching Assignment procedures. Source:   http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/Exhibits%20_A- N(from%20admin)(OCR)(annotated).pdf (located in Section 7.8 and at Exhibit K)

Under the administration’s proposal:

Bargaining Unit Faculty no longer receive preference for summer teaching.

Summer teaching assignments at the discretion of the Department Chair and with the approval of the Dean, based on “student and curricular needs.”

Every full-time faculty may be replaced by a part-time faculty member.

 

What the Summer Teaching Assignment Proposal Means:

 About half of our members routinely teach one-two summer courses each academic year. Summer courses are paid at the rate of 1/12 (8.33%) of base salary. If summer courses are instead assigned to part-time faculty, our members lose out on income. We have provided another column that shows additional retirement investments forgone.

Base Salary   # of Courses   Salary Impact   Retirement Impact

$50,000 1 $4,166 pay cut $1166 lost
$50,000 2 $8,333 pay cut $2333 lost
$75,000 1 $6,250 pay cut $1750 lost
$75,000 2 $12,500 pay cut $3500 lost
$100,000 1 $8,333 pay cut $2333 lost
$100,000 2 $16,667 pay cut $4666 lost

This proposal allows the university to outsource summer classes to part-time faculty. The cumulative, long-term consequences are enormous.

 

Cancellation of Merit-Pay Process

The board/administration wants to eliminate the process for which merit pay is determined. Source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/Exhibits%20_A- N(from%20admin)(OCR)(annotated).pdf (located in Section 11.6)

Under the administration’s proposal: Merit pay process eliminated from CBA.

Deans/chairs would have total discretion to allocate merit pay in the future.

 

What the Merit Pay Process Cancellation Proposal Means:

Under the old CBA, there was a transparent process in terms of calculating merit pay. Our members knew that meeting specific performance criteria would result in a merit pay raise.

Under the administration’s proposal, transparency is eliminated and our members will be under subjective criteria we cannot negotiate. Arbitrary financial power in the hands of administrators in practice removes many protections from faculty. Who would question or protest the decision of their Chair or Dean? Who would file a grievance? Your next Chair or Dean may not be someone you trust.

Merit pay increases, when earned, become part of one’s base salary. No merit increases put our members at a cumulative, long-term financial disadvantage.

Summary

Merit pay increases are permanent and added to base salary. This proposal allows the university to arbitrarily determine your merit pay. The cumulative negative impact of this proposal is substantial, in terms of both money and freedom.

Workload Agreement Cancellation

The board/administration wants to eliminate our agreement on workload. Source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/Exhibits%20_A- N(from%20admin)(OCR)(annotated).pdf (located in Article 19)

Under the administration’s proposal:

The administration can unilaterally change faculty workload (# of classes taught) Workload would be a prohibited subject of bargaining.

 

What the Workload Cancellation Proposal Means:

 Under the MOU on Workload currently in effect, workloads are transparent.

Under the administration’s proposal, transparency is eliminated and the administration can increase our teaching load.

If the administration increases the number of classes we are required to teach, they will need fewer faculty. Combined with the proposed Retrenchment language, layoffs are likely and more unfilled positions could remain unfilled.

Less time for research

Less time to tutor/mentor students

Less time for service

Summary –Increasing workload means each and every student gets less attention. You have less time to publish and complete service activities, BUT promotion demands remain the same. Wright State becomes less attractive to new faculty.

Increasing workload is bad for students and faculty!

 

NTE Promotion Changes

The board/administration wants to drastically reduce job security for NTE faculty. Source: http://www.wright.edu/administration/aaup/nego/FF/Exhibits%20_A- N(from%20admin)(OCR)(annotated).pdf (scroll to Article 13)

The administration’s proposal:

Continuing appointments require future NTE faculty members to serve at least 9 years of full-time service at WSU and most must serve 12 years (up from the current 6 years.)

What the Proposal Means:

 This is a horrible and divisive proposal for ALL faculty. Without any job security for up to 12 years, NTE faculty are at the mercy of Chairs and thus will not feel free to question or protest. NTE faculty turnover will increase as they look for more secure jobs. As the national and WSU trend is to turn ever more faculty positions into non- tenure lines, this will destabilize departments and will be bad for our students.

If we agree to worse terms for incoming faculty than we ourselves enjoyed, the union we have built will erode due to lack of good faith and we will gradually be less able to protect anyone.

How Is a Wage Freeze a Wage Cut?

Make no mistake about it – a wage freeze is a concession that costs you money. This is due to inflation. Whereas our wages remain frozen, the prices of goods and services continue to rise. Inflation is forecast between 1.9% and 2.0% for the next three years.

The administration proposal calls for 0-0-0 in raises and their attorney suggested they would refuse any in the three following years also. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the ability to tell your utility company, your Internet Service Provider, your local grocery store, and the gas station that you have decided not to pay their higher prices? Of course life doesn’t work that way. Each year, we see prices increase.

The following table illustrates what happens to the value of $50,000 from 2017- 2022, assuming no raises and an inflation rate of 2%. Take your salary and divide by

$50,000, then multiply by the “value at end of year 2022” to see how much real money you are losing.

Value of $50,000 Over Time Assuming 0% Raises 

Value at Start of Year Projected Inflation Value at Year End
’17 $50,000 2.00% $49,000
’18 $49,000 2.00% $48,020
’19 $48,020 2.00% $47,060
’20 $47,060 2.00% $46,118
’21 $46,118 2.00% $45,196
’22 $45,196 2.00% $44,292

 Over a 6-year period, your $50,000 is only worth $44,292 due to inflation.

Unfortunately, the ramifications do not end there. This table does not include the long-term compounding effects of the loss of contributions toward retirement.

 

AAUP-WSU Strike Platform

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.