Letter of Support from the Teaching Assistants Association at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

TAA 1 [Teaching Assistant Association--U Wisonsin-Madison]

Teaching Assistants’ Association

520 University Avenue, Suite 220

Madison, WI 53703

taa@taa-madison.org

www.taa-madison.org

 

We, the Executive Board of the TAA, are writing in support of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP-WSU), who have been on strike since January 22nd. AAUP-WSU’s decision to strike is the culmination of years of overspending and financial mismanagement by WSU’s administration. WSU has imposed contract changes that require faculty to switch health plans that raise members’ premiums, burdening those who are sick and the lowest paid. The imposed contract allows Wright State to use up to 10 furlough days per calendar year, requiring faculty at Wright State to take leave without pay while demanding that they continue their research and service duties to the university. The contract offered by WSU further eliminates the faculty workload agreement that would result in faculty teaching more and larger classes. The imposed contract would threaten job security, as it requires non-tenured faculty to complete 9 years of service before qualifying for further appointments. These demands intensify insecurity of faculty at Wright State, unjustifiably shifting WSU’s financial burdens to faculty members.

AAUP-WSU has continuously acted in good faith, making concessions while the WSU has been unwilling to compromise. The administration’s bad faith has been continually made public, as they have employed tactics to threaten both students and faculty. WSU administrators have implied that student financial aid could be revoked of students refusing to attend classes by replacement instructors. They have further made calls to hire adjunct labor to replace striking faculty members. Wright State has publicly released the names of faculty along with their emails, opening them up to harassment. Such actions are unconscionable, unprofessional, an unsettling.

Faculty at Wright State have built the University’s reputation through their teaching, research, and mentoring. We Stand in solidarity with AAUP-WSU, and we call on Wright State to negotiate in good faith.

Best,

Executive Board of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (AFT-W Local 3220) University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Letter to President Schrader from the United Faculty of Florida/University of Florida

UFF [United Faculty of Florida]

 

Dear President Schrader and Trustees:

I write on behalf of the United Faculty of Florida-UF (NEA/AFT/AFL-CIO), the union representing faculty and professionals at the University of Florida.

Our organization stands in solidarity with the members of AAUP at Wright State University as they defend their collective bargaining rights. We are inspired by their brave actions, and we urge you to return to the bargaining table immediately and in good faith.

As AAUP-WSU has repeatedly noted, there are significant differences between the union and the board on health care, faculty governance, and summer pay. But at issue right now is the faculty’s right to collective bargaining—the right to negotiate the terms and conditions of employment.

Moreover, we are disappointed that you turned down the union’s offer of $8 million in concessions, a good-faith effort to resolve the contract dispute and protect the academic mission of the university, and have chosen instead to issue ultimatums.

Members of AAUP-WSU have conducted their strike with honesty, dignity, and clarity. They have garnered the support of many students, as demonstrated by the emergence of organizations such as WSU Students for Faculty.

We join those organizations—and a growing number of groups across the country—in supporting the collective bargaining rights of faculty at Wright State University. And, again, we urge you to return to the bargaining table immediately and in good faith.

Sincerely,

Raúl Sánchez, President

United Faculty of Florida-UF

 

 

Statement of Support from the Lecturers Employee Organization at the University of Michigan

LEO Union [U of Michigan]I’m writing to tell you that LEO, representing full-time and part-time Lecturers on the three campuses of the University of Michigan, stands with you in your struggle to protect your members from paying an unacceptable price for bad decisions made by your Administration.   Those mistakes are now compounded by their effort to intimidate your members with threats of permanent striker replacements.   Perhaps, as Howard Bunsis suggested in our conversation last night, their real agenda is to bust the union.

However that may be, we support your fight.   Our Union Council voted today to contribute $500 to your strike fund.   What is the best way to get that money to your union?

I am planning to share your story with LEO members, as well as delegates to the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, which represents about 15,000 union members in a four-county area.

In solidarity,

Ian Robinson, President

LEO, AFT-MI 6244

UUP Delegate Assembly Support Resolution for AAUP-Wright State Faculty Strike

Special Order of Business for Winter 2019 DA

UUP Delegate Assembly Support Resolution for

AAUP-Wright State Faculty Strike

 

Whereas, after two years of failed negotiations, management has attempted to impose a contract onto the Wright State University faculty represented by the AAUP-Wright State union,

Whereas, such a contract is not the result of a collective-bargaining agreement and is onerous, including but not limited to a drastic change in health insurance unilaterally imposed, furloughs, lengthening the time to continuing appointment, canceling workloads agreement, no pay raise, merit pay at supervisors’ discretion, and changes in summer teaching with negative impacts, 

Whereas, the members of the Wright State union overwhelmingly voted to strike beginning on January 22, 2019 and have continued to strike and picket in exceptionally cold winter weather, reported to be the longest higher education strike in Ohio history,

Whereas, the State Employment Relations Board for Ohio has ruled against management and for the union that the strike is legal, and

Whereas, the President of the United University Professions Fred Kowal has written a strong supportive letter to the Wright State strikers and its union, which is published on the AAUP-Wright State union website,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE DELEGATE ASSEMBLY OF UUP

Affirms President Kowal’s letter to the AAUP-Wright State Union and directs a similar letter to be directed to the Wright State University President, its Board of Trustees, as well as to the Governor and leadership of the Senate and House of the Ohio State Legislature, copied to the union,

Offers to send a delegation from UUP for a rally for the faculty strikers organized by the Wright State union,

Encourages academic and professional members of UUP to write personal letters of support to the AAUP-Wright State faculty union and to the President of Wright State University,

Encourages volunteer financial contributions by UUP members, to reinforce the financial support UUP provides from its funds, and

Encourages the Executive Board of UUP to authorize such continued vigilance for supportive actions that it deems appropriate until the strike is settled, including but not limited to financial support for strike materials, helping in advertising and distributing the position of the strikers, and such other concrete supports as needed.

 

Letter of Support from the Ohio State Chapter of AAUP

Ohio State AAUP

February 4, 2019

President Cheryl Schrader

Wright State University

260 University Hall

3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy.

Dayton, OH 45435

 

Dear President Schrader and Members of the Wright State University Board of Trustees:

I write on behalf of the Ohio State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which stands with the Wright State University chapter members of the AAUP in their struggle to defend their collective bargaining rights. We are inspired by the steadfastness of our colleagues, who are beginning the third week of their historic strike—now the longest higher education strike in Ohio history.

We strongly urge your administration and the Wright State Board of Trustees to return to negotiations immediately in good faith, rather than continuing to unilaterally impose contracts on faculty.

As AAUP-WSU has repeatedly said, while there are significant differences between the union and the administration on health care, faculty governance, and summer pay, the biggest issue AAUP-WSU is defending is the very right to collective bargaining, the right to negotiate.

A note posted by AAUP-WSU on Facebook on February 4 describes the actions taken by the administration and Board of Trustees that must end, in the best interests of the faculty and the students.

As Marty Kich (President of AAUP-WSU) explained, “We offered the WSU administration/Board $8 million in concessions; they turned down that offer and would not change a word of their proposal on Saturday evening. Then on Sunday, they voted [amongst Board members] to approve their own proposals, a stunt designed to convince people that we should then ask our members to vote on their proposals as well. But our chapter Constitution defines procedures for votes on contracts on which the two sides have reached ‘tentative agreement.’ Since we have not reached any agreement on the Board’s proposals, we do not intend to ask our members to vote on them.”

We urge you to stop trying to fight the right of the union to negotiate—and actually negotiate. Your refusal to negotiate has been an unfortunate feature of this conflict from the beginning, and is counter-productive.

In the first week of the strike, which began on January 22, your administration refused to negotiate at all.

You only came to the table after a January 27 hearing with the State Employees Relations Board (SERB) in Columbus, which many OSU faculty and AAUP members also attended, in which the state board unanimously rejected your administration’s attempt to have the strike declared “unauthorized.” The SERB rejected claims that the faculty were “sabotaging” classrooms, or that they were “lying” and operating in bad faith.

AAUP-WSU members have conducted their strike with directness, honesty, and dignity. They have garnered the support of many students, as demonstrated by the emergence of organizations like WSU Students for Faculty. We join our voices with the many AAUP chapters and unions across the state and from around the country who have stood by them.

In the teachers’ strikes that have exploded across this country over the last year, a slogan has emerged: “Teachers’ teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions.” Without a fairly negotiated contract that actually uplifts and supports faculty work and life, the education of students will suffer. This is simply unacceptable at a public institution, whose mission is, above all, to provide education for students with instructors and researchers at the top of their fields.

We stand with our colleagues in their struggle, which has been an inspiration to us all.

In Solidarity,

John David Blackburn, President AAUP-OSU

 

Letter of Support from the Cincinnati State AAUP Chapter

cincinnati state aaup

To Marty Kich and the members of WSU-AAUP:

The faculty of Cincinnati State AAUP stand in support of our colleagues at Wright State University and your resolve to achieve a fair contract that protects your collective bargaining rights.

Our one-week faculty strike in 2011 brought many challenges, and all of us who lived that experience can “feel your pain” as your strike continues. However, we don’t regret having taken a stand when it was essential, in order to preserve our collective bargaining rights and maintain the quality of education at our institution.

We know from experience that faculty don’t go on strike for raises– faculty go on strike when it’s the last and only way to demonstrate to trustees and administrators that faculty are dedicated to the mission of the institution– by doing what’s necessary to preserve the institutional attributes that allow faculty to offer the highest quality educational experiences for our students.

We ask that the Wright State trustees and administration return to the bargaining table in good faith, to negotiate a reasonable settlement that will bring an end to the strike.

We stand with the faculty in your fight for the future of education at Wright State University.

Pam Ecker
President, Cincinnati State AAUP

 

Voice of Allyship to AAUP-WSU from One Non-Union Faculty Member

This open letter was posted on the faculty listserve at Wright State by Julie L. Williams, Psy.D., ABPP, a Professor and Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist in the Wright State University-School of Professional Psychology. She has given permission to re-post it.

 

Good afternoon….

For the past 3 weeks, I have read the strike-related email threads, and like many I have stayed silent, perhaps in my own fear as we have been warned of consequences for showing solidarity as nonunion faculty.  Silence however, is not usual for me, as I am known for my speaking up.

So, here I go. I am writing to offer my voice of support for what it’s worth and in the spirit of solidarity to the Union. As a person, who is hard of hearing, Dwarf, deals with significant and ongoing healthcare related costs, I painfully understand the fear and powerlessness felt when being told someone or others will decide how and under what circumstances my benefits will change. I also recall the hurt I felt when I read WSU emails/reports of catastrophic healthcare spending creating budget problems–as if, it’s people like me with disabilities and chronic illnesses who created budget problems and burdening the system.

I am in awe of the union efforts and it gives me profound hope. Healthcare is real for everyone and we really want someone to fight for healthcare, not just people like me and unions. It’s a matter of life and death. I am moved and I gain hope when I see individuals standing and fighting for those rights. That is noble, and it is a current and present day issue. Even as a nonunion employee who will not benefit from this fight, I believe in what you are doing.

I remain and continue to verbalize my support to the union. Furthermore, I believe this fight has the power to benefit our students, who will some day work in institutions and be employees–and  administrators–and they will remember how one can and should fight for their rights and cultivate healthy work places for all..

I look forward to working with the union faculty again on the other side of this. In the meantime. I offer my voice of solidarity.

J

Julie L. Williams, Psy.D., ABPP.

Professor/Board Certified Rehabilitation Psychologist

Wright State University-School of Professional Psychology