FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Wright State University’s faculty union voted to adopt into their constitution an amendment that would allow it to call for a strike if a deal is not reached with administration.
Some union members 2 NEWS spoke with say they don’t want to strike, but they will if their job security is threatened.
The Wright State chapter of American Association of University Professors (AAUP) voted unanimously on Wednesday.
The university responded Thursday releasing the following statement:
The faculty and staff at Wright State University are very devoted to the students. They always have been, and they always will be.
Some of the faculty at Wright State, like many public universities in Ohio, are unionized and therefore have the ability to bargain a new collective contract every few years upon the expiration of the prior contract. At times the process has been quick and easy, other times it has been more challenging.
Regardless, there has never been a strike at Wright State and there has been one short strike at one Ohio public university since the collective bargaining law went into effect.
The bargaining process in Ohio is governed by the State Employment Relations Board and has many rules, checks and balances in place to promote the orderly negotiation of new agreements. Although faculty could theoretically eventually go on a strike, it takes exhausting many steps of the state process to reach that option and is many, many steps from that point. Before that would occur, the State Board would do all it could to intervene and see if a deal at the table can be reached.
The parties are currently in the bargaining process, have the assistance of a trained mediator, and also have the “fact-finding” process ahead of them where a neutral third-party makes suggestions on how a contract can be settled. Both union membership and the Wright State University Board of Trustees will likely have more to say as the process continues forward. Both practically and legally, a strike is not imminent.”
Contract negotiations between Wright State and its faculty have been ongoing since March when the school brought in an attorney to continue talks. The university is working to cut $19 million in budget cuts to steady its financial crisis.
Professor and AAUP member, Noelene McIlvenna says the cuts should come at the administrative level, not academic. “To have fewer faculty is to hurt the academic mission. They intend to lay off more faculty instead of seeking a solution to the crisis within the administration” she said.
McIlvenna believes the cuts to faculty it not in the best interest of students.
“This is a fight for students so they can have a university with a full faculty, smaller classrooms, more classes,” she said.
The AAUP is made up of 584 full-time faculty members. McIlvenna believes the university should look to cut administrators with what she calls bloated salaries.
“They’re going to hire another university president for strategic planning as if there aren’t enough people in University Hall who know how to do that,” she said.
McIlvenna hopes the university and AAUP can reach an agreement soon.