Teamsters members working for Wright State had been set to vote on a contract proposal in mid-March, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended everything, including higher education.
Wright State eventually pulled its proposal from consideration, as Bellew describes the situation.
The university laid off workers and eliminated positions in June, moves affecting about 50 employees.
“I can say negotiations aren’t going good,” Bellew said Tuesday. “What we’re hoping to accomplish is some movement by the university, so we’re not losing jobs and possibly some money savings that we can provide to them.”
He said a work stoppage of some kind is a possibility, but he did not elaborate on that.
The local’s most recent contract expired Aug. 31, 2018. When talks had reached no resolution in January 2020, the union filed a notice with the State Employment Relations Board that it would begin striking the university Feb. 3. But that strike was averted by continued meetings at the last moment.
“We were supposed to vote (on the latest contract proposal) March 12,” Bellew said. “And the governor (Mike DeWine) put the restrictions on March 9, so the university and the union agreed to postpone the vote. When we finally figured out a way to do it, the university had pulled their proposal.”
Wright State endured a three-week strike of faculty members early in 2018. The Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors' strike was thought to be the longest college faculty strike in Ohio history, having totaled 20 days by the time resolution was reached in mid-February 2019.