FILE: Wright State faculty union members protested at a board of trustees meeting. The union and administration have been negotiating a new contract for more than a year.

Wright State faculty union starts scheduling picketers for strike

I n an email sent today to members of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors, union president Martin Kich asked faculty to sign up for a picketing time. Union members plan to picket near the entrances to campus, Noeleen McIlvenna, a WSU history professor and contract administration officer for the union has said.

» RELATED: Faculty strike could impact Wright State’s enrollment, finances

The AAUP-WSU is asking members to sign up for three different picket shifts, according to a form included in the email. Strikers have been asked not to use Wright State email accounts or phones to communicate during the strike.

The union has also established a headquarters near Wright State’s Colonel Glenn Highway entrances for the strike. The AAUP-WSU will use the Wingate by Wyndham hotel at 3055 Presidential Drive as its offices, Kich said in the email.

“We must stick together and hold the line,” Kich wrote in the email. “We must be strong and unified for our students and our community, because what we do now will become the WSU legacy for generations to come.”

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The possible strike comes after the WSU board of trustees decision to implement terms moves faculty union members into a “uniform” health care plan, maintains current rules of retrenchment, includes no pay raises and would allow 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.

Board of trustees chairman Doug Fecher has said the university’s position in negotiations has been focused on reaching an agreement that would help make the university financially sustainable in the long-term and would prevent increased costs to students. In an open letter to the community, union leaders have asked people to contact Fecher to tell him to continue negotiating with the union for a faculty contract.

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