As a possible strike looms for hundreds of faculty members at Wright State University, a union spokesperson says compensation and job security have been among the key issues in negotiations with university officials.
Roughly 500 full-time teaching faculty members may go on strike October 1 if their union rejects a fact-finder report, according to union officials.
The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) at Wright State has been trying to negotiate a new contract with the university for the past year and a half.
Noeleen McIlvenna, contract administration officer for the AAUP at Wright State, called the negotiations process “tense.”
“We just reached this point where you have to draw a line in the sand for the quality of education and for the students,” McIlvenna said.
The union’s contract with Wright State expired in June 2017, McIlvenna said. The university’s proposal includes benefits reductions and furloughs that add up to a nearly 10 percent pay cut, McIlvenna added.
Aside from better pay, union members also want more protections to ensure job security, McIlvenna said.
“It’s just a little bit concerning because what’s going to happen around campus?” said Jenna Powers, a Wright State University freshman. “Are they going to stop classes?”
“It’s not shocking at all,” said Leandra Cruzado, whose sister attends Wright State. “I feel like they should go on strike because it’s affecting their families as well.”
Both sides have met multiple times, as recently as last week, McIlvenna said. They’ve now turned to a fact-finder to try to resolve the dispute.
The fact-finder’s report will be released September 11, and union members will have a week to vote to accept or reject it, McIlvenna said. A rejection could lead to a strike, she added.
“We know how the stakes are high for many people in this community,” McIlvenna said. “And that we want them to understand that this is not a step we would take lightly.”
A Wright State University spokesperson declined to comment during the negotiations in order to leave discussions at the bargaining table.