BREAKING: Faculty union expected to file 10 day strike notice

Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian.

On Saturday, Jan. 5, a communication email was sent out to the members of the Wright State University chapter of American Association of University Professors rejecting the last best offer by the board.

“The unanimous recommendation of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee is to reject the imposed contract by authorizing a strike,” according to the email.

On Jan. 4, the WSU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to implement the terms and conditions of their offered contract to the collective bargaining.

In the email sent to members, the AAUP-WSU executive committee detailed their reasoning and briefed members on the articles negotiated on.

”On Monday, January 7, our attorney will file a formal strike notice with Ohio SERB (State Employment Relations Board). This prompt filing will provide great flexibility in timing a strike, which will of course be contingent upon the results of the vote. Our attorney will also file an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the admin/Board, because they failed to negotiate before imposition,” according to the email.

For nearly two years Wright State administration and their WSU-AAUP have been locked in very tense contract negotiations. During which, many of the articles have been agreed upon between administration and AAUP-WSU. The trustee’s terms and conditions accept all of the articles that were tentatively agreed upon, according to a press release by Wright State administration.

Since 2016, Wright State has been navigating a financial crisis in which the university was required to address a $30 million structural budget deficit caused by years of un-budgeted and uncontrolled spending that used $130 million in reserves. The financial recovery included three rounds of staff layoffs and sweeping budget controls and cuts across the university. Those efforts have provided some short-term relief to the university’s financial situation according to the administration release.

“If we let this stand, our union will have sold out sixty-plus current and all future NTE colleagues,” said the union’s communication email. “Plus, the administration will have even less incentive to hire TET faculty. Altogether, this will make shared governance and academic freedom more tenuous for all.”

In a press release by the faculty union, President Martin Kich stated that the faculty feel compelled to stand up for the quality of education.

“They have refused to negotiate at all since our members overwhelmingly rejected the Fact-Finder’s report in early November. Despite their repeated promises to negotiate, and our repeated offers to do so, the Board has elected to impose a contract that damages our students and makes academics a low priority,” said Kich in a press release.

The executive committee concluded their email by stating they were ready to negotiate.