Wright State Contract Negotiations—Strike Imminent

You may have heard media reports on the contract negotiations, or lack thereof, at Wright State University. If you have not, negotiations have gone poorly and a strike appears imminent. On November 7, Wright State AAUP members voted to reject a fact-finder’s report: of the 493 eligible to vote, 97.2% voted, and 97.5% of those who voted rejected the Fact Finder’s report.

Wright State does have real budget problems, but they are self-inflicted. Over just four years, the Wright State board and administration have wasted $130 million on initiatives and “enterprises” unrelated to the core academic mission.

Wright State’s full-time teaching faculty constitute a small percentage (17%) of the university’s budget. This has been consistent over the last ten years. Wright State also has had a net loss of 92 full-time faculty since 2016. So, spending on faculty has clearly not created the budget problem, and it is unrealistic to expect the problem to be solved through draconian cuts to faculty positions and salaries.

Unfortunately, the University of Cincinnati has seen some of these same problematic trends. Cuts in state funding have created serious budget issues. But here, as at Wright State, instead of refocusing on the core academic mission of teaching and research, the UC administration has diverted resources to a myriad of non-academic areas. This includes the seemingly never-ending practice of hiring more and more administrators.

The increase in administrators has been accompanied by a reduction in the number of full-time faculty (or a lack of new hires to meet the demands of increased student enrollment). In many academic units at UC, the number of full-time faculty is no longer sufficient to maintain the quality of UC’s academic programs. Further, UC administration’s increasing overreliance on adjuncts is a Band-Aid solution that is not sustainable and is again damaging the quality of UC’s academic programs.

The UC administration has attempted to cloak the shift in funding away from the academic mission with Performance Based Budgeting, commonly referred to as PBB. They can give it any name they want, but it is as a shift in funding away from teaching and research, and it is negatively affecting the core academic mission at UC.

Returning to Wright State, the faculty and Wright State AAUP chapter recognize the financial problems at that university and are willing to be a part of the solution. They object that the people who created the mess are now trying to gut the faculty by using the mess that they created as a justification.

As Marty Kich (President of AAUP-WSU) said, “Administrators and Boards come and go. But most faculty will spend their entire careers at Wright State. We have a deep interest in the long-term viability of our University and are devoted to its academic mission. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, and the value of the degrees that our students earn is defined in no small measure by the professional contributions of our faculty.”

Wright State is scheduled to strike on January 22nd.

More information can be found at the AAUP-Wright State University (WSU) web site https://aaup-wsu.org/

You can sign a petition of support https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-wright-state-faculty.

Or visit AAUP-WSU’s social media accounts:

https://www.facebook.com/AAUP-Wright-State-University-636430523091526/,
https://twitter.com/aaupwsu?lang=en,
https://www.instagram.com/aaupwrightstate/.

 

2019 JAMES C. AND CHARLOTTE PARADISE SCHOLARSHIP

The University of Cincinnati Chapter of the American Association of University Professors announces the award of a scholarship for the 2019-20 academic year.  The amount of the award is $2000.  Eligible nominees include any U.C. undergraduate at the level of Junior or above, who will be a full-time student at the University of Cincinnati for the academic year 2019-20.  Students can be nominated by any AAUP Bargaining Unit faculty member.

The Paradise Scholarship celebrates a partnership in life and law.  James Paradise was the legal counsel of the UC AAUP through five years and three collective bargaining agreements.  His expert knowledge of labor law was schooled by ten years as a National Labor Relations Board trial examiner and a General Counsel of the Brewery Workers International Union.  His commitment to academic freedom was demonstrated by his tenure as President and board member of the American Civil Liberties Union.  Charlotte Paradise was a teacher, an active member of the Cincinnati Women’s City Club, and her husband’s legal secretary for more than a decade.  Their careers and civic activities exemplify the excellence which the scholarship is intended to reward.

Nominees should have good academic records that evidence an ability to do serious study and a willingness to accept challenges.  Equally important, however, will be evidence that, in life outside the classroom, the student exemplifies the unselfish commitment to community service, concern for others, and willingness to defend human rights and civil liberties that characterized the lives of James and Charlotte Paradise.  Activities that are undertaken as part of membership in social or fraternal organizations will not be taken into consideration for the Paradise Award.

If you know a University of Cincinnati undergraduate whose life displays these qualities, please nominate by sending his or her name, address, telephone number and email address to the campus office of the AAUP:

We will contact all nominees with instructions for applying after the nomination period ends.

DEADLINES

NOMINATIONS: Due FEBRUARY 11, 2019;

APPLICATIONS: Due, MARCH 11, 2019.

PRESENTATION:  APRIL 11, 2019 AAUP Chapter Meeting.

 

Post-Election Thoughts

From AAUP-UC’s perspective, the election in Ohio was disappointing. AAUP-UC endorsed Rich Cordray for governor and Betty Sutton for lieutenant governor.  We believed that they would have stopped the frequent attacks on public sector collective bargaining in Ohio. Equally important, we hoped that they would bring a fresh perspective on the role and significance of higher education in Ohio.

With Cordray and Sutton’s defeat, the Republican Party will continue to control the governor’s office and the both legislative houses. They have not been friendly to public sector employees or to higher education in the recent past.  (Click HERE for the OCAAUP’s 2018 report on the status of higher education in Ohio.)  The lame duck legislature has already introduced legislation that would build on the Supreme Court’s Janus decision and threaten a union’s right to exclusively represent employees. This is another attempt to weaken unions. We hope that this legislation will not move out of committee, but we will be monitoring the situation closely.

The AAUP, working with the OCAAUP, does hope to work with incoming governor Mike DeWine and his administration. He has begun his tenure with a more conciliatory tone than his predecessor. (You will recall that one of John Kasich’s first acts as governor was signing SB #5, which would have eliminated most of public sector employees’ rights to collectively bargain.)  In short, we will hope for the best, while preparing for the worst. If necessary, and as we have done in the past, AAUP-UC we will work with AAUP chapters and allies across the state to defeat legislation that targets faculty or negatively impacts students. Our track record to date has been impressive, as we collectively have defeated efforts to reduce sick-time, curtail tenure, charge faculty to use their own textbooks, and, of course, repeated efforts to curtail faculty from bargaining collectively.

There were a few reasons for optimism on Election Day. AAUP-UC endorsed candidates Representative Brigid Kelly (representing the uptown campus) and State School Board Member Pat Bruns were reelected. Representative Fred Strahorn, another AAUP-UC endorsed candidate and the minority leader in the house, was reelected.  His Democratic caucus is expected to pick up five to eight seats after all the votes are tallied.

Moving forward, it is hoped that reforms passed by voters to curb gerrymandering will be effective and make Ohio elections more competitive moving forward. (Here is an interesting article from The Cleveland Plain dealer on the reforms to curtail gerrymandering and their impact on Ohio politics moving forward.)  Finally, I note that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who launched an unprecedented assault on both public sector unions and higher education was defeated.

I remain optimistic and look forward to continuing to work with you to move higher education forward in Ohio.

AAUP-UC 2018 endorsements

AAUP-UC’s endorsement in partisan political races has historically been rare. This has increased in recent years as higher education funding in Ohio has been repeatedly cut. Further, faculty have been repeatedly targeted by a variety of ill-informed legislative efforts that depict faculty as the problem that must be fixed. This includes bills that mandated course load, reduced sick-time, required post-tenure review, prohibited faculty from using their own textbook for courses, and repeated attempts to limit the faculty’s ability to collectively bargain. Fortunately, through the efforts of AAUP-UC, the Ohio Conference AAUP, and our allies throughout the state, these misguided pieces of legislation were defeated. Unfortunately, there will be more forthcoming.

With this background, and after a thorough and methodical process, the AAUP-UC Political Action Committee (PAC) recommended and the AAUP-UC membership approved the following endorsements.

Rich Cordray for Governor. Cordray is the former Ohio attorney general, treasurer, and head of the United States Consumer Protection Bureau. He has made making higher education more affordable, expanding access to technical training, and making community college free a critical part of his campaign. Both before and after the Chapter’s endorsement, Cordray has been open and available to discussing issues that are important to AAUP-UC. This includes issues that affect working conditions at UC, including administrative bloat, the increasing athletic subsidy, over-reliance on adjuncts, and the need for more diverse perspectives, including an academic perspective, on the board of trustees.

Fred Strahorn and Brigid Kelly for State Representative. Strahorn and Kelly have been critical allies of AAUP-UC and the Ohio Conference of the AAUP on a number of the anti-faculty issues that have emerged in the Ohio House in recent years. Without their support, some of this legislation would have passed. Strahorn is the minority leader. Kelly is the assistant minority whip and represents the district that includes UC’s uptown campus.

Kathleen Clyde for Secretary of State. Clyde was an eloquent and passionate voice in the Ohio House on AAUP-UC and higher education issues. As Secretary of State, she will work to ensure voter access and make the decennial redistricting process fairer and more transparent.

Pat Bruns for State School Board. Pat Bruns is a former educator having taught art in the Northwest School district in Hamilton County. She has been a consistent advocate on the state board of education for affordable, quality public education.

All AAUP-UC endorsements are voted on at general membership meetings. Only AAUP-UC members are eligible to vote. If you are not a member of AAUP-UC, click HERE to join.

Cordray for Governor

Great faculty with a great candidate–Rich Cordray for governor of Ohio (endorsed by AAUP-UC)!