Wright State University’s faculty union chose to strike today and members of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University professors began picketing outside campus entrances along Colonel Glenn Highway and near the Nutter Center.
Around one-third of the 560 or so union members were in the classroom instead of on the picket line, according to the WSU administration. Wright State employs around 1,700 faculty, including adjunct faculty, according to the university.
Classes and operations will continue at the university despite the strike. Some classes have been consolidated, moved online temporarily or will be staffed by a substitute, including Wright State president Cheryl Schrader who plans to return to an engineering classroom.
The strike is the culmination of nearly two years of failed negotiations between leaders of the AAUP-WSU and the school’s administration.
The WSU board of trustees on Jan. 4 voted 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.
A conference room at the Wingate hotel on Presidential Drive will serve as the headquarters for the union during the strike.
FIVE FAST READS