“On January 4, the Wright State University Board of Trustees implemented employment terms for the roughly 560 faculty members represented by the AAUP-WSU. These terms did not represent an ‘offer’ and were not meant as a ‘bargaining position.’ These are actual employment terms put in place until the AAUP-WSU’s next contract is negotiated and approved.
“Faculty members covered under these terms can report to work on January 22, or they can choose not to. It is their decision. However, the university has an obligation to provide our students with a high-quality education. We also have obligations to meet all state and federal higher education rules and regulations. These obligations are non-negotiable.
“The actions of one-sixth of our employees will not alter our mission as an institution of higher learning. And, their actions most certainly do not change our contractual and ethical obligations to our students. Wright State will be open for education on January 22, and students should go to class.
“Despite the clarity of our actions, the AAUP-WSU has repeatedly demanded the university come back to the bargaining table and again re-negotiate the contract that expired in 2017. This is not possible because all negotiations for the contact that expired in 2017 ended once we reached impasse and exhausted all statutory processes. Our trustees enacted new terms and conditions to break the impasse.
“That is not to say we are unwilling to begin negotiations on the next contract. Yesterday, Wright State General Counsel Larry Chan informed the union we are willing to open negotiations for the 2020 contract at their convenience. And, if agreement is reached, those terms can immediately go into effect.”
The following is the email correspondence sent to Rudy Fichtenbaum, AAUP-WSU chief negotiator, from Larry Chan, Wright State general counsel:
From: Chan, Larry Y
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:29 PM
To: ‘Rudy Fichtenbaum’
Cc: Schrader, Cheryl B.; Douglas, Fecher; Guttman, Dan; Shepard, Laura; Kich, Marty
Subject: RE: An Offer to Negotiate
As a show of good faith on our part, we too would agree to return to the negotiating table to begin work on a successor agreement if the AAUP-WSU withdraws its ULP with prejudice. With the ULP withdrawn with prejudice, the university would have in place the type of necessary financial relief recommended by Fact-Finder Stanton to facilitate financial recovery. Beginning negotiations for a successor agreement with concessionary measures similar to the rest of our workforce would allow the university to immediately “roll up its sleeves” and work on the next contract.
As noted by the Trustees, it was necessary to move the university forward beyond the status quo of a contract that was put in place August 20, 2014 and expired June 30, 2017. Since the last contract was negotiated in 2014, the university has faced a financial crisis and countless unanticipated issues. Asking to return to the same contract negotiations that have failed to produce any AAUP-WSU agreement despite two years of bargaining encompassing over twenty formal meetings, despite the efforts of a mutually agreed upon federal mediator, and despite a separate fact-finder is either naïve or simply a strategic tactic by the AAUP-WSU.
It is necessary to negotiate our next contract, and not return yet again to a past contract that expired in 2017. The Trustees correctly determined the university could not maintain a status quo financial package and continue its expected level of public service to its students. We are ready and willing to immediately begin negotiations on a successor agreement under this understanding.