Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News
Hundreds of Wright State University faculty union members walked off the job Tuesday to strike, causing confusion in unattended classes and leaving both sides unsure when they’ll be able to resolve the ongoing labor dispute.
Dozens of members of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors began picketing at 8 a.m. Tuesday near the entrances to campus. Most union members held red signs that said “On Strike For Wright,” while others displayed homemade posters.
Protesters chanted for contract negotiations to restart while others chanted for WSU president Cheryl Schrader “to go.”
“This is terrible for this university but they’ve left us no choice," Martin Kich, president of the AAUP-WSU said while on the picket line.
Around 40 percent of the AAUP-WSU’s 560 or so members continued to teach as the strike started, according to the university.
The strike is the union’s response to the WSU board of trustees decision on Jan. 4 to implement the final terms of employment for the union which includes moving faculty union members into a “uniform” health care plan, maintaining current rules of retrenchment, including no pay raises and allowing faculty to be furloughed as part of “cost savings days.” The union has taken issue with the furlough policy, changes to health care, new provisions for promotions and tenure appointment, workload and a merit pay system.
Wright State’s finances troubled contract talks. The university reduced its spending by around $53 million in fiscal year 2018 in an attempt to begin correcting years of overspending.
Kich and other union leaders on Tuesday said they were prepared to strike as long as necessary to get the administration to return to the negotiating table. Union members plan to picket from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday until a deal is reached, said Noeleen McIlvenna, a WSU history professor and contract administration officer for the union has said.
Board of trustees chairman Doug Fecher said he wants to reach an agreement quickly to end the strike though he was unsure Tuesday when a deal might be made. There is a “lot of misunderstanding” and “mistrust” which Fecher said both sides need to get past to “make the road to a resolution a lot easier.”
“The board, and I think the AAUP, would like to get a deal done as quickly as we can so our faculty can go back to teaching,” Fecher said.
Classes go on?
Some Wright State University students said their Tuesday classes were not covered by the university as the faculty union went on strike.
Prior to the strike, administrators said classes would go on though some might be consolidated, moved online temporarily or taught by a substitute. Schrader, an engineer, planned to return to the classroom during the strike, as did other administrators.
But, some students posted on social media that their classes did not have an instructor or were given “alternate assignments.” Some also said they were not told whether their course would be covered during its next session.
Students listed their classes that were not covered in a Facebook group called WSU Students for Faculty. Among the classes students listed as going unstaffed today were courses in English, Spanish, philosophy, cybersecurity, computer science and more.