FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – 560 instructors are set to strike tomorrow, and the legal battle suggests this could last a while.
Monday afternoon a university spokesperson says, “Approximately one third of faculty represented by AAUP-WSU have credibly informed the university they intend to teach their classes.”
A quick response from a union officer says, “You should be skeptical. The word ‘intent’ means nothing.”
It’s the bitter battle that looks like it will not end anytime soon.
Within the past few days, both Wright State and the faculty union have filed competing charges of unfair labor practices, or ULPs.
Dr. Noeleen McIlvenna is a history professor at Wright State, and an officer with the union. She says, “We think it’s a nuisance. They accused us of coercion, when all we did is ask if people would help.”
Wright State University President Cheryl Schrader says, “It simply is a response to many of our people who are feeling threatened, coerced.”
Among the university’s claims: the union mislead the university about whether they intended to strike, and spread misleading information to stop students from attending classes.
Schrader says, “Certainly we don’t want our students to be used as bargaining chips, and we would expect that the union and the union members would not be engaged in those practices.” They also say the union told faculty not to help during a strike.
Dr. McIlvenna says, “We told students, as the teacher of record, we can’t take into account the grades of alternative teachers.”
The union claims the collective bargaining agreement implemented by the university is worse than the fact-finding report, and grounds for filing a ULP. So now to the picket lines, after a last message to students from Dr. McIlvenna: “I told them I wanted to be back with them soon as possible.”
Both sides have offered to withdraw their ULP’s, but there’s a catch, of course. The union will drop their ULP if they get a new deal for this year. The university will drop their ULP if the union calls off the strike. If the ULPs continue, the Ohio Employment Relations Board will determine the next steps.