Wright State University’s faculty union went on strike at 8 a.m. this morning as a stalemate continues over terms of employment implemented by the board of trustees earlier this month.
Dozens of members of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors are picketing near campus entrances this morning. Many are holding red signs that read “On Strike For Wright” while others are holding homemade signs.
Some protesting were chanting for negotiations to restart while others were calling 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 this morning.
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.” In its strike notice, the union took 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 have contributed to trouble at the negotiating table. The university reduced its spending by around $53 million in fiscal year 2018 in an attempt to begin correcting years of overspending.
Though dozens of strikers were waving signs at WSU this morning, around one-third of the union’s members don’t plan to picket and will instead be in the classroom this week, spokesman Seth Bauguess said.
Both the administration and union leaders have said they hoped to avoid a strike. It became something of a “final straw,” Noeleen McIlvenna, a WSU history professor and contract administration officer for the union has said.
“It’s very sad that we have to be out here but its also bolstering our spirits that we have so many out here ready to fight for Wright and ready to fight for quality education here at the university,” McIlvenna said. “It’s very sad that it had to come to this.
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