WSU files with state board

By Whitney Vickers - [email protected]

FAIRBORN — Wright State University filed for the state labor board Jan. 24 to determine if the strike by the American Association of University Professors-Wright State University Chapter is unauthorized.

Wright State said in a press release that it had reported evidence to the SERB that the AAUP-WSU strike is taking place for a reason prohibited by state law and stated that the strike is unauthorized because the executive committee for the AAUP-WSU told its members in writing to “confound” Wright State’s efforts to continue operations and hosting classes during the strike. Wright State reported that if the SERB rules in favor of the college that the AAUP-WSU would have to “immediately cease and desist all strike activity.”

The AAUP-WSU responded in a press release and said the filing “confirms” that the “strike is effective, and the administration is finding that Wright State University cannot function without us.”

Wright State presented evidence that the strike is unauthorized because the AAUP-WSU is protesting in part due to the college removing faculty workload provisions and agreements from the labor contract because faculty workload is a “prohibited subject of bargaining,” Wright State said.

“The General Assembly disallows even the act of collective bargaining over faculty workload – much less the act of a public-sector strike over faculty workload,” Wright State’s press release said. “The AAUP-WSU cannot maintain a public-sector strike to force the university to negotiate a faculty workload agreement.”

Wright State also presented evidence that the AAUP-WSU “intentionally sabotaged the university’s planning to find replacement instructors and to continue operating and providing courses during a strike,” the Wright State press release said. The press release added that the AAUP-WSU executive committee sent an email Jan. 10 to its members telling them to inform the university that they wouldn’t participate in the strike, regardless if they were being truthful.

“The AAUP-WSU sought to mislead the university about which employees planned to report to work to sabotage its efforts to find replacement workers and keep offering courses during the strike,” the press release said.

The press release additionally said the AAUP-WSU told its members to remove the syllabus and course information from the Wright State online portal system in order to create obstacles for the university offering courses through the strike without disruption of learning. The press release said the act became a challenge because students and replacement instructors would still be utilizing the online portal and class materials to continue offering courses while the strike is taking place.

Wright State said on the third day of the strike that additional AAUP-WSU members are asking to gain access to their university email accounts and online portal to prepare to return back to the classroom.

“Based on confirmed classroom data documented at the department level as well as centrally across both the Dayton and Lake Campuses, 44 percent of AAUP-WSU faculty members are teaching their classes and are not participating in the strike,” the Wright State press release said. “The university notes the university remains open for business for both students and any faculty who choose to return to the classroom.”

The AAUP-WSU responded with its own press release, saying that the union is still ready to negotiate.

“The allegation may have public relations value, but we are confident that it has no legal substance,” a press release by the AAUP-WSU in response to the WSU filing said. “Their filing did not cite a single case which addresses their factual allegations. We filed our notice of intent to strike with the state of Ohio almost three weeks ago, and there was no objection from the state or the WSU administration.”

The Wright State University Board of Trustees met in an executive session Jan. 25 to discuss collective bargaining. The AAUP-WSU said students would be protesting the meeting, but those participating in the protest wouldn’t cross the picket line.

“We have learned that we cannot predict what the board will do,” AAUP-WSU President Marty Kich said. “We will remain on strike until we have a negotiated agreement. So next week, we’ll be back on the picket line.”

Wright State Provost Dr. Susan Edwards issued a statement to students that said the refund period for full-term classes for students who wish to drop/withdraw from classes has been extended until 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1; the late registration fee for classes has also been waived in case students need to change their schedule. She encouraged students to contact Raider Connect at [email protected] or calling 937-775-4000 if they are considering dropping classes.

“Before taking any action that may impact the progress toward your degree, scholarships, or financial aid eligibility, we want to help you and make sure you understand all of the options that exist to help you stay on track to graduate, which may include changes to your class schedule,” Edwards said in her statement. ” … In our commitment to ensure that you continue to meet your academic goals, we encourage you to reach out to let us help you if you are experiencing difficulties with your class schedule. Our student success teams continue to gather resources and stand ready to assist you.”

The AAUP-WSU and Wright State University administration have been unable to agree upon a new contract terms for faculty members for approximately two years. The strike started and picket line was formed by the AAUP-Wright State Chapter Jan. 22 after members rejected the Wright State University Board of Trustees unilaterally adopted “last, best offer” earlier this month.

By Whitney Vickers

[email protected]

Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.

Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.