Wright State union: Faculty offered 0% raise; to protest this week

Members of Wright State University’s faculty union are planning a rally this week as contract negotiations continue with the administration.

The faculty union is planning to rally in the Millett Hall atrium at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to a Friday email that updated faculty on contract talks. Rudy Fichtenbaum, national president of American Association of University Professors, will speak to WSU chapter members at about 11 a.m. in the Millett Hall atrium.

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Participants will then march to the Apollo Room in the student union where president Cheryl Schrader will be hosting a community forum on the budget. Schrader is scheduled to lead a discussion about finances with board of trustees chairman Doug Fecher and chief business officer Walt Branson at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“They need to see us all together. Commit to attending this Rally and the Forum on Wednesday. Our strength is in our numbers and our unity,” Noeleen McIlvenna, a WSU history professor wrote in the Friday email that went out to union members.

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The email also served to update faculty members on the status of contract negotiations and what the administration has put on the table so far.

The administration has offered the union a three-year contract with no raises, reduced health benefits with higher premiums and new furlough proposal, according to the email. The reduction in benefits would amount to a 4 percent pay cut and a furlough, which could last up to two weeks, could amount to a five percent pay cut, according to the AAUP-WSU email.

The proposed contract would also give the administration more discretion in assigning workloads, parking fees, life and disability insurance and tuition and fee remission, among other things, according to the email.

The WSU administration declined to comment for this story.

Contract negotiations between Wright State and its faculty have been stalled since March when the school brought in an attorney to continue talks. The resignation of president David Hopkins and the school’s budget trouble also slowed negotiations, AAUP-WSU president Martin Kich has said.

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Contract negotiations are expected to move into fact-finding at the end of the month. The most recent three-year contract gave faculty around an annual 3 percent raise, Kich said.

In November, the union created a plan that would allow it to strike if a deal on a contract is not reached. Then in December news broke that the Wright State administration was developing a policy to furlough faculty if the university continued to struggle with its finances.

Contract talks come as the university tries to recover from more than $30.8 million in budget cuts implemented in June.

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