Contract talks thaw between Wright State faculty union, administration

Wright State faculty union members protest at a January budget forum on campus.

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Wright State faculty union members protest at a January budget forum on campus.

Wright State University’s administration is back in contract negotiations with the school’s faculty union after a tense few months.

Contract talks were set to move to fact-finding by the end of January but instead a fact-finder recommended that the university and the union continue to negotiate through a mediator, according to an email from WSU president Cheryl Schrader that was sent to campus today.

The fact-finding process has been rescheduled to April 3, according to the university.

RELATED: Wright State budget forum becomes negotiating table for faculty union

“The parties have reached tentative agreements on many of the articles for the next contract, though several articles remain unresolved and are under discussion,” Schrader said in the campus email.

The AAUP-WSU doesn not “entirely share the administration/ board’s perspective” on the state of negotiations, the organization said in its own press release.

Tensions between administrators and members of the Wright State chapter of the Association of American University Professors reached a peak late last month. Faculty union members protested at a budget forum and threatened to call a strike if a deal was not reached.

The protest came after the union said the administration offered faculty a contract with no raises, reduced benefits and higher health care costs, which would effectively amount to a pay cut. The possibility of faculty furloughs has also been in discussion.

RELATED: WSU projects $3.5-million enrollment drop but no state fiscal watch

In her email, Schrader thanked faculty and staff for helping the university to overcome some of its challenges.

Wright State’s board of trustees slashed more than $30.8 million from the school’s budget in June. Administrators have left several jobs vacant in an effort to reduce costs this year and boost Wright State’s reserve fund by at least $6 million.

“We are emerging stronger as a university by harnessing our collective pride in Wright State, and by transforming the lives of the students who trust us with their time and treasure,” Schrader wrote in the email.

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