Faculty Union votes to reject Fact Finder’s report

Faculty Union votes to reject Fact Finder’s report

Last week, members of AAUP-WSU, the faculty union at Wright State, voted to reject a report issued by fact-finder David Stanton, who was tasked with reviewing unresolved issues in contract negotiations between the union and university administration.

In a press release, the union representatives claimed that 467 voted to reject the report and 12 members voted to accept it – meaning that about 97 percent of union membership voted against it.

“Our members found that the Fact Finder’s recommendations would erode the quality of education faculty provide our students, hurt the community Wright State University serves, and threaten the livelihood of our faculty — and they voted accordingly,” the press release reads.

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Administrators voted unanimously to accept the report at the Nov. 1 Board of Trustees meeting. “The trustees felt that approving this report was in the best interest of our students and the university and it will help Wright State move forward,” President Cheryl Schrader said in a press release. “I think both parties would have preferred to have negotiated a longer settlement.”

President of AAUP-WSU Martin Kich has said that negotiations may resume now that both parties have voted on the report. The union has communicated their intent to resume negotiations to administration, and the latter has acknowledged that, according to Kich.

University spokesman Seth Bauguess has said that the administration and trustees will soon meet to discuss their next steps.

If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the administration may impose a last best offer on faculty. Kich has said that the union would intend to strike only if that happens.

“AAUP-WSU is ready to negotiate. It is now the responsibility of President Schrader and the Board of Trustees to sit down with us. AAUP-WSU has committed not to initiate a strike unless President Schrader and the Board try to impose a contract that would damage education at Wright State,” the press release reads.

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In an email addressed to the campus community, University President Cheryl Schrader wrote that administration intend to meet with union leadership to discuss next steps. “Wright State has excellent faculty members. The university wants to reach an agreement that honors their dedication and is financially sustainable for the university’s long-term future,” Schrader wrote in the email. “I am committed to maintaining the quality of our academic programs so that we continue to be the university our students, our region, and the state needs us to be.”

Before a strike can occur, the union has to give the university and SERB ten days’ notice of their intent to do so. At any point during that ten-day period, negotiations may resume if the parties see it fit.

Before voting, the union had previously released a recommendation to reject it.  “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,” the recommendation reads.

“Our membership is clearly united in their determination to protect education for present and future Wright State students,” Kich said in the press release. “It is time to work together to ensure WSU’s future.”