Faculty Offer $8 Million in Concessions; Wright State Trustees Refuse

Tonight, in a late evening negotiation, the Wright State University Trustees turned down an offer from AAUP-WSU of over $8 millions in concessions in an effort to bring resolution to the contract dispute and protect the academic mission of the university. The AAUP faculty, while disappointed to stay away from the classrooms, announced they plan to be on the picket lines on Monday. “We strike to preserve quality education above all,” said AAUP-WSU President Marty Kich.
The University’s attorney refused to allow a federal mediator to participate this evening. The faculty proposal would have meant pay cuts  for summer teaching, and furloughs, as well as major increases in healthcare costs. Earlier statements by the administration attempted to deceive students and the public by emphasizing raises to finally come in 2022 and 2023. However, the Board also proposed drastically lowering the rate of summer pay. This would  constitute a 20% pay cut for the faculty in the summers. So the Board’s offer was not a pay increase that would cost them any money, but would instead be paid for by faculty who teach summer school. It was an attempt to divide and conquer the faculty. AAUP-WSU will not allow the Board to succeed in pitting faculty members against one another.
“When the board hired President Schrader and an outside attorney, their goal was to break the union. The reason the faculty are on strike is to save our union, because it gives us a voice at the University. This allows us to protect the academic integrity of our programs so that we can offer students the education that they deserve,” explained Kich. “These Trustees have not served this public university well. They do not understand higher education and they should not be allowed to determine the curriculum.”
In the spirit of reaching an agreement, AAUP offered to compromise on a health plan. Faculty would accept all aspects of the plan now in place for staff, except that they would keep their state-guaranteed right to bargain about premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums. This would allow the administration to have control over changes in every aspect of healthcare (copays, drug copays and changes in formulary, changes to HSA contributions and more).

“All of these contract components play a role if Wright State is to continue to attract top-notch faculty in the future. That’s critical for our students and for their younger sisters and brothers. Students have supported us in the strike because they understand the difference great faculty have made for them as individuals,” Kich went on. “And everyone in the Miami Valley needs their nurses and teachers, scientists and journalists, engineers and entrepreneurs trained by top faculty.”

Letter of Support from Purdue AAUP

AAUP Purdue

American Association of University Professors Purdue University Chapter

West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

 

January 29, 2019

Dear Wright State Colleagues,

The Purdue chapter of the American Association of University Professors sends solidarity greetings. We stand with your faculty in its strike against the University administration. We support your demands for better wages and working conditions for faculty at Wright State, and your fight for a better educational environment for your students. Your struggle emblematizes the need for faculty across the country to work together in coalition to fight for its interests.

Respectfully,

American Association of University Professors – Purdue University (West Lafayette) Chapter West Lafayette, Indiana

 

Letter of Support from United Faculty and Staff, University of Wisconsin- Madison and University of Wisconsin-Extension

January 28, 2019

United Faculty and Academic Staff

P.O. Box 260323 • Madison, WI 53726-0323

ufas [uw-madison]

President Cheryl Schrader

Wright State University

260 University Hall

3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy.

Dayton, OH 45435

 

President Schrader and Members of the Board of Trustees:

I am writing to you on behalf of the elected leadership of United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), American Federation of Teachers Local 223, AFL-CIO. Established in 1930, UFAS is a democratically organized labor union for faculty and academic staff at the University of Wisconsin– Madison and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

We write to express our extreme concern about the dire state of affairs at Wright State University, and we join in support of the faculty in their demand for a fair contract. It is the students who will 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.

AAUP-WSU has been attempting to negotiate a fair contract since January 2017, despite the administration’s aggressive attempt to roll back basic job security provided to faculty throughout Ohio and the nation—even where faculty are not unionized. The AAUP-WSU has made all of the concessions; the administration has not been willing to compromise on anything. All the while, WSU students, the local workforce, and the region’s economy have been harmed by the administration’s poor stewardship.

We demand that you change course immediately, and reconsider your hard line with the faculty, whose stellar work in teaching, mentoring, and research has built the university’s reputation and made it a top choice for area students. Students, faculty, and staff deserve leadership that values them and provides the support needed for their—and Wright State’s—success. We urge you to negotiate in good faith with the faculty union in order to end the current impasse.

Respectfully,

Chad Alan Goldberg

Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison

President, United Faculty & Academic Staff, AFT Local 223

 

United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS) is a labor union democratically organized to represent its members—faculty and academic staff at both the UW-Madison and UW-Extension. UFAS is an independent affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, Local #223, AFL-CIO

Letter of Support from United University Professions, SUNY

united university professions [suny]

Marty Kich, President AAUP-WSU

113 Medical Sciences Building Wright State University

3640 Colonel Glenn Highway Dayton, Ohio 45435-0001

 

Dear President Kich:

On behalf of the 35,000 members of United University Professions (UUP), the union representing academic and professional faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY), I am writing to you to express our unwavering support for AAUP-WSU in your struggle with the Wright State University administration.

UUP stands in solidarity with you, our sisters and brothers in AAUP, in your strike for a fair contract. The employment terms imposed by the WSU Board of Trustees constitute an outrageous attack on the union’s fundamental rights. We applaud your efforts to preserve, protect and defend union rights, working conditions and quality education.

We join our sister public higher education unions in calling on the WSU administration to commit to the common good of the students, community and faculty. It is time for the administration to end this dispute and negotiate in good faith.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Frederick. E. Kowal, Ph.D., President

 

Statement of Support and Resolution from the California Conference of AAUP

ca aaup

Statement of Support from the California Conference of AAUP

26 January 2019

To: Marty Kich, President AAUP-WSU

The California Conference of the American Association of University Professors (CA-AAUP) stands in solidarity with the striking faculty of the American Association of University Professors-Wright State University (AAUP-WSU). Yours is a fight for your students’ education and for the continued existence of public higher education as a common good.

We are dismayed that administrators at your institution refuse to negotiate in good faith and are instead using deceptive and coercive tactics to weaken support for the strike among faculty, students, and the Dayton, Ohio, community (e.g., running classes with scab faculty unfamiliar with the curriculum; threatening loss of financial aid to students who fail to attend class; filing an unfair labor practice claim to seize faculty intellectual property). Such tactics are unacceptable in an institution of higher learning.

At the same time, we are heartened by the broad support you have received from your students, the local community, and other members of the higher-education community in Ohio and beyond. We recognize how crucial your struggle is to the future of public and private higher education in the United States, and we will support your strike until you achieve the resolution that your collective-bargaining chapter finds acceptable.

Signed,

Claudio Fogu, President, CA-AAUP

on behalf of the CA-AAUP Executive Board:

President
Claudio Fogu, University of California, Santa Barbara

Secretary/Treasurer
Mary Ann Irwin, Diablo Valley College

Vice President for University of California:
Jesse Drew, University of California, Davis

Vice President for California State University:
Rosalinda Quintanar, San Jose State University

Vice President for California Community Colleges:
Katie Graham, Diablo Valley College

Vice President for Private Colleges and Universities:
Alex Zukas, National University (2018-2020)

___________________________________________________________________

Resolution Approved by the CSU-AAUP Council, 1/29/2019

CSU-AAUP stands with our colleagues at Wright State University in protecting quality public higher education.  The administration’s solution to budget deficits brought on by a drastic decline in state funding for public higher education will leave students with larger classes, fewer interactions with faculty, and longer completion times. Areas critical to a liberal arts education will be gutted.  Academic freedom is under siege.  Each of these assaults would limit access to university education and diminish its effectiveness; together they will be devastating.  We urge management to find a solution that doesn’t sacrifice students, faculty, or the quality of higher education.

 

An Incredible Week at Wright State University

Posted to the Academe Blog of the national AAUP by Rudy Fichtenbaum: https://academeblog.org/2019/01/27/an-incredible-week-at-wright-state-university/.

It has been an incredible week at Wright State University. The weather has been terrible (temperatures in the single digits followed by snow and freezing rain).But everyday this week, hundreds of faculty have been on    the picket line from 8am to 6pm at the four main entrances to the campus. Our faculty have given up their paychecks, lost their health insurance, and left their classrooms, labs, schools, and hospitals to take a stand and send   a message to the administration and board that we will not let them  destroy public higher education at Wright State.

Members of the Wright State AAUP chapter executive committee have  been working around the clock, writing press statements, doing interviews, posting on social media, organizing picket shifts, and dealing with the campus police. All who can are also doing regular shifts on the the picket lines. We have other members in charge of checking people in for picket duty, supplying picketers with hand and foot warmers, providing food for hundreds of strikers, shoveling snow, shuttling picketers from our headquarters to the picket line, putting up and taking down tents every  day.

Our students have been unbelievable. They have brought food and drinks to us on the picket lines. One day last week while I was on the picket line a computer science student crossed the street in front of campus carrying a shopping bag full of hot bowls of chili and thanked us for what we were doing. Students have held two marches, walking from campus out to our picket lines, and briefly occupied the president’s office on Thursday demanding a meeting with the president.

We have been joined by our brothers and sisters in the labor movement from Dayton area and beyond. Of course, AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress chair Paul Davis was there with us, as were others from Cincinnati State. John McNay president of the Ohio AAUP conference was on the line with us. Other chapters from across the state have joined us as well–Bowling Green State University, the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, and faculty from the University of Dayton. This fall the Wright State AAUP chapter affiliated with the Dayton-Miami Valley Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and their support for us has been fantastic. The president Tom Richie and executive director Diane Walsh have been on  the line with us, as have members from IBEW local 82, UFCW local 75 , IUE local 775, Iron Worker’s local 290, Ohio Federation of Teachers, and the Ohio Education Association. The state AFL-CIO blasted out our petition  and a petition organized by students across the state. The AAUP-CBC has approved a grant in support of the strike and we have received donations and letters of support from other unions across the country.

We have had the support from members of the Dayton City Commission and Senator Sherrod Brown.

We have had great support from the national staff of the AAUP. Organizers Ben Ratliff and Kira Schuman have been on the ground for weeks and both organizing director Christopher Simeone and executive director Julie Schmid have also been here to offer their support.

The administration and board have still refused to negotiate with us believing that our faculty would never strike. Once the strike was a reality, they claimed that they would cover all of our classes. In reality what is happening is that the campus is in chaos. They have threatened students with the loss of financial aid if they fail to attend class. They have some chairs attempting to teach as many as six classes. They have ads on  LinkedIn offering to hire hundreds of scabs. There are hundreds of reports from students on social media telling us that substitutes are telling them   to read their books or work on previous assignments. We have had reports of clinical sections at hospitals where no instructor showed up, so the students left. Their definition of covering a class is having a “sweeper” take attendance! But as one of the signs held up by one of our picketers said “Attendance is not Instruction.”

The administration and board have filed an Unfair Labor Practice against our chapter for not helping them determine how many scabs they need to teach classes and for refusing to provide scabs with the intellectual property of our faculty to enable them to run classes. On Thursday, in what is clearly a move of desperation, they filed a Notice of an Unauthorized Strike with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB).

Our attorney has told us there is a difference between an illegal strike and and effective strike and what the administration and board are admitting with this filing is that the strike is effective. The SERB agreed, and found in our favor.

We are confident that our members will remain united and do whatever is necessary. As the president of the national AAUP, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with each of our members who have chosen to take  a stand, putting everything on the line, to fight for students and to ensure the continued existence of public higher education as a common good.

 

23+

SERB Rules That AAUP-WSU Strike IS Authorized

STATE OF OHIO

STATE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD

 

In the Matter of Wright State University,

Employer, and

AAUP Wright State University Chapter, Employee Organization.

Case Number: 2019-STK-01-0001

 

DETERMINATION

Before Chair Zimpher, Vice Chair Schmidt, and Board Member Lumpe: January 27, 2019.

This case comes before the State Employment Relations Board (“SERB”) upon the filing of a Request for Determination of Unauthorized Strike by Wright State University (“Employer” or the “University”) under the provisions of Ohio Revised Code (“O.R.C.”) § 4117.23. SERB is required to determine whether the alleged strike by bargaining-unit members represented by the AAUP Wright State University Chapter (“Employee Organization” or “AAUP-WSU”) is an “unauthorized strike” as defined by O.R.C. § 4117.01(H). SERB is required to render its determination within seventy-two hours of the filing of the request. The request was filed on January 24, 2019, at 4:06 p.m.

The Employer has argued that the AAUP-WSU interfered with the University’s right to continue offering public services. Upon consideration of the parties’ pleadings, all filings in the record, exhibits, and upon the arguments presented by the parties’ representatives on this date, SERB finds that the strike is authorized. In sum, the University has not shown that there is urgency warranting the procedures of O.R.C. 4117.23. Rather, the unfair labor practice procedure is the appropriate  forum  to address these matters.

We are not unmindful, as prior Boards have observed, and as both counsel today have referenced, that strikes should always be a last resort in any conflict resolution; and, further, that strikes “by their nature are disruptive and designed  to  cause  inconvenience .” Beaver Local School District Bd. of Ed., SERB 98-002. Nonetheless, the issue of whether strikes are permitted, albeit limited in nature, was resolved years ago by the General Assembly and is not at issue before this Board today.