Wright State University’s president has responded to the faculty union’s threat to strike come Oct. 1.
In an email to the campus community, WSU president Cheryl Schrader wrote “talk that a strike is imminent is still premature.” She said the university is “working hard” to “avert a strike” by reaching an agreement with the leaders of Wright State’s chapter of the American Association of University professors.
A fact-finder is expected to release a report on Sept. 11 which Schrader said she hopes presents “a compromise for both parties to consider.
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WSU-AAUP president Martin Kich said that union members believe the compromises suggested in the report will not be acceptable to the group.
Union members will then vote on the report for a week or two. At least 60 percent of the union’s membership would have to turn down the fact-finder’s proposal to begin initiating a strike.
Contract negotiations between Wright State University and its faculty have been stalled since March 2017.
The union’s contract expired in June 2017 but it remains in effect until after the fact-finder’s report is issued. The most recent three-year contract gave faculty around an annual 3 percent raise, Kich said.
Before November, the WSU faculty union did not even have a formal plan that would allow them to strike if they decided to.
Schrader’s email, commenting on the strike, comes a week after WSU spokesman Seth Bauguess said the administration would not respond to the union’s planned strike date of Oct. 1.
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“Throughout the negotiations, the university has consistently honored the confidentiality of our talks with the faculty union. We will not engage in a public debate about the negotiations, but I will continue to provide updates to our management team and the campus community when possible,” Schrader wrote in her email.
In her email, Schrader acknowledged that the contract disputes are just the latest issue in a “challenging” few years for Wright State. In 2017, WSU trustees slashed more than $30 million from the school’s budget and in June they approved a budget that projects another $10-million decline in revenue.
“I want to assure you that our university is committed to maintaining the quality of our academic programs and preserving the opportunity we provide students to achieve their goals,” Schrader wrote. “We continue to make this clear publicly and at the bargaining table.”
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