On January 4, the Wright State administration and Board unilaterally imposed a contract on the full-time teaching faculty represented by AAUP-WSU.
On November 7, our members voted to reject a fact-finder’s report: 87% of the full-time teaching faculty are AAUP members; of the 493 eligible to vote, 97.2% voted, and 97.5% of those who voted rejected the Fact Finder’s report.
In 2017, the university had a Senate bill 6 score of .8, and their outside labor attorney’s brief to the fact-finder painted a hyperbolically bleak picture of the state of the university, including descriptions on untended, overflowing toilets and trash-strewn hallways and classrooms. Eight months later, when the university administration announced that it will likely avoid fiscal watch with a Senate Bill 6 score of 2.20—that it had turned the corner in addressing the university’s budget issues--its fact-finding brief was inexplicably released to the media, and the administration and Board had to publicly walk back the assertions made in it. But they are still basing their arguments on our contract on those hyperbolic claims.
The university’s budget woes are almost entirely self-created. Over just four years, the Board allowed more than $130 million in reserves to be wasted on non-academic initiatives and enterprises—and the purchase of $20-$30 million in off-campus properties—that not only never produced any of the promised additional revenue streams but have, instead, become huge drains on university revenues. The Board allowed five consecutive years of negative cash flows, and conflicts of interest have been rampant. In November, the Board agreed to pay a $1 million federal fine for H1B visa abuses. Dozens of foreign workers, who were ostensibly on the university payroll, were farmed out to local corporations and paid at less than the prevailing wage.
The compensation and benefits of the full-time teaching faculty constitute 17% of the university’s budget. That percentage has been very consistent over the last ten years—even over the last two years when the total budget has been cut by tens of millions because since January 2016, we have had a net loss of 92 full-time faculty positions. So, spending on faculty lines has clearly not created the budget problems, and those problems cannot be solved in any significant way through our contract.
All of that said, we recognize that we will have to take a financial hit on this contract. What we are objecting to is that the people who created the mess are now trying to gut our contract by using the mess that they created as a justification.
The imposed contract includes language that the administration put on the table an hour before the end of the last negotiating session before fact-finding. Not a sentence in those proposals has been discussed or negotiated since they were put on the table in mid-January 2018. Instead, the administration has insisted on trading off one bad proposal for another. Earlier this fall, when we attempted to break the impasse by offering a menu of permanent and short-term financial concessions, they refused to discuss any of those possibilities. When we asked them to give us a target number so that we could see how far apart we were, their labor attorney and the Chair of the Board both said, “There is no number.”
The elements of the imposed contract that we are rejected, along with explanations of why we are doing so, is available at: https://aaup-wsu.org/2019/01/06/aaup-wsu-ecs-summary-of-the-administrations-imposed-contract-and-our-recommendation/.
What can you do to help us make sure that our contract does not in any way become some sort of new baseline for your next contract?
Please sign our petition of support and distribute it to your contact lists and over your social media accounts: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-wright-state-faculty.
Please visit our social media accounts and express your support to encourage our members and demonstrate to the communities that we serve that we have broad support:
If your chapter is joining us on the picket line for a few hours, please consider participating.
Thank you so much for your support,