Wright State faculty union sets strike date: What you need to know now

An attorney for Wright State University’s faculty union filed a strike notice today after failing to reach a deal with the school’s board and administration on a contract.

The union could begin picketing on campus at 8 a.m. Jan. 22, according to a strike notice filed Monday with the State Employment Relations Board.

The impasse comes after more than 18 months of negotiations and raises several questions about what will happen in the event that a strike moves forward.

Here’s a look at what we know now about a potential faculty union strike at Wright State.

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1. How many Wright State faculty will strike?

Wright State’s faculty union consists of around 500 members and the group’s leaders plan to take a vote this week on a strike.

A vote taken on a fact-finder’s recommendations in October may be an indication of how the union could end up voting on a strike. The union rejected the fact-finder’s report by a vote of 467 to 12.

» RELATED: Wright State faculty union to file 10-day strike notice Monday

The strike would include faculty union members at the university’s Lake Campus as well.

There are around 1,200 or so full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty at WSU, according to the university’s website.

2. How long would a possible strike last?

Just as no formal strike date has been set, there is no established length for a possible strike, said Noeleen McIlvenna, a WSU history professor and contract administration officer for the union.

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If the union follows through on a strike, McIlvenna said members will plan picket outside entrances to campus.

“(We’ll strike) as long as it takes to save the university from this reckless board,” McIlvenna said. “The contract that they imposed on us will do serious damage.”

3. Has a faculty union strike ever happened before?

Wright State’s faculty union has never gone on strike before.

Union president Martin Kich said last month that he never expected an impasse to last this long. There is one other notable instance of a faculty union at a public Ohio university going on strike though.

Youngstown State University is the only other state school school to have ever gone on strike in Ohio. The strike only lasted for a few hours in August 2011, according to The Vindicator.

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College's faculty also went on strike in 2011.

4. Will classes still be held during a strike?

Spring semester begins Monday, Jan. 14, at Wright State.

The earliest a strike could start is the fourth day of classes, Jan. 17, though union leaders have said it would likely start later in the month.

»MORE: Here’s how the salaries of WSU faculty match up to other Ohio colleges

Classes would still be held in the event of a strike, spokesman Seth Bauguess. The university has “contingency plans” plans in place in the event of a strike.

A different teacher could substitute in a class where a professor is on strike, Bauguess said. The university could also temporarily consolidate classes or use online tools to keep classes going.


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