Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
Dylan Collison contributed to this story.
The Wright State Executive Committee of AAUP-WSU unanimously rejected the most current Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program (VRIP) offer.
The VRIP is a one-time voluntary retirement incentive plan to retirement-eligible non-bargaining unit faculty members. The purpose of offering the incentive plan is to assist the university in balancing its workforce while strategically looking at future needs, according to the university. The incentive plan is limited to the first 60 eligible faculty members. After the 60 mark is met, individuals will be reviewed by a case-by-case basis.
“Until the university is able to realize improvements in enrollment and retention, we must continue to pursue ways to balance expenses and revenue in the context of a sustainable forward-looking plan,” according to a university email sent to faculty. “One such approach to managing personnel expenditures that is both people-friendly and uses a best practice approach is offering a retirement program that is voluntary and creates a benefit for both the university and the employee.”
According to an email from AAUP-WSU President Noeleen McIlvenna, AAUP-WSU met with administration on Feb. 13 to discuss a VRIP offer. The offer was issued as an unfair labor practice because AAUP was not contacted and negotiations were not initiated.
AAUP-WSU Chief Negotiator Gretchan McNamara responded with a counter offer: “Different rehire rates, with a defined percentage of TET positions and a maintenance of the current provisions on healthcare through the life of the contract.”
“At the AAUP-WSU’s request, the university drafted and presented an MOU on February 26 that stated that a minimum of 25% of the headcount accepting the provisions of the faculty VRIP would be replaced. The MOU also outlined the opportunity for higher faculty replacement numbers depending upon increases in enrollment and retention,” according to a university statement.
“None of this has been in good faith. Nothing has changed in their attitude towards negotiating with us. We could have been negotiating all year,” said McIlvenna. “We need all members to understand that in refusing an ultimatum for a VRIP, which they need much more than us, we stand firm for the right to bargain.”
“The idea of a faculty-focused retirement incentive program was first presented to the AAUP-WSU in August and again in November 2019 by Dr. Edwards,” said Wright State.
This is a developing story that will continue to be updated.