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Wright State Teamsters union vote on fact finders report: What you need to know

Photograph: Soham Parikh/The Guardian

Wright State University campus | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University’s Teamsters 957 is in the process of taking a vote to reject or accept the fact finder’s report. If they vote to reject the report, they will move to a strike vote.

Here’s what you need to know about the report and potential outcomes:

The news of the mediation and fact finding process have been relatively quiet; the negotiations have been ongoing since September 2018.

Stalling negotiations:

  • Health care
  • Furlough days
  • Pay raises

“We’re going through the same thing as the teachers [faculty union],” said Tom Bellew, chief steward for the Wright State Teamsters union. “We feel disrespected by what the university is doing and spending their money on.”

Bellow has been with Wright State for seven years and loves his job with the university. However, according to Bellow, leadership choices have become frustrating over the years.

Who are the Teamsters 957 of Wright State:

The Teamsters union makes up 38 types of positions on Wright State’s campus.

These departments include custodial, HVAC, groundskeepers, technicians, electricians and engineers.

There are currently 115 members of the union at WSU.

During the winter months, the groundskeepers plow the parking lots and clear the sidewalks around campus. HVAC and technicians fix lighting or heating and air issues.

Fact finder report:

Parking

Currently, the Teamsters receive a $10 cap on parking passes.

In the contract proposed by the university, it would remove the cap and require the Teamsters to pay the same price as staff and faculty passes.

The Teamster’s response was if there were no wage increases in the contract, they request the university leave the language the same as it was in the last contract.

Seniority, layoff and recall

The fact finder recommended the current contract language.

Hours of work, furlough days

The fact finder recommended the university addition of five days.

Wages

The fact finder recommended a 1.5 percent increase in July of 2019 and 1 percent for July 2020.

Insurance

The fact finder recommended the university proposal on benefits.

What does rejecting or accepting the report mean?

According to Bellew, if the Teamsters vote to reject the report, they will go back to mediation with the WSU lawyer.

By law, the two parties are required to meet for negotiations after rejecting the report.

If there is no headway made on the contract the union will submit a 10-day strike notice to the State Employment Relations Board (SERB).

What happens if the 10-day strike notice is filed?

Even though the notice is filed, negotiations between Wright State and the union can still continue.

At any time it can be called off.

After Wednesday’s vote, the parties will go back to the table to negotiate. If a walkout would occur it would not be until after January, according to Bellew.

The university would contract services with outside contractors that the Teamsters currently provide. 

Other unions such as Pepsi and UPS would be unable to cross the picket line during the timeframe of a strike, according to Bellew. 

“The university is hopeful that the university’s Teamsters bargaining unit will accept the Fact Finder’s report,” said Seth Bauguess, director of communications. “The university is confident that there are administrative and other costs in the Teamsters health care plan that would not result in savings to the university in contrast to the savings the university already benefits from in a unified health care plan for all university employees.”