WSU ends strike.

By: 
JENNA GILBERT
Staff Writer

The strike at Wright State University is officially over according to a post made by the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Wright State University Facebook page late Sunday night. This ends the longest higher education strike in Ohio history at just under four weeks of striking.
According to the post made on the Facebook page, the AAUP-WSU negotiating team met with the administration at WSU and came to an agreement which was voted on by the union’s executive team. All bargaining unit faculty returned to work Monday.
A federal mediator, which was assigned in the beginning of the strike, was brought in over the weekend to bring the two sides together. According to the president of the union, Marty Kich, the administration at WSU kept saying the federal mediator wasn’t necessary to bring an end to the strike. Kich also said Chancellor Randy Gardner of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, who was appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine in January, was also helpful in coming to the agreement.
On Monday evening, WSU released the term sheet that will work as the basis for the new contract. The new agreement moves union employees into a uniform health care plan with the rest of the university but adds language that the university will offer two medical plans for the first and second successor contract to preserve employees choice and options. It also adds clarifying language to Section 26.4 of the health care portion which states the union’s right to negotiate health care after the second successor contract.
One of the union’s grievances with the imposed contract was with the uniform health care. Kich has said that being uniform wasn’t necessarily the biggest issue as much as there was a clause that allowed the university to make changes to their plan with only provided faculty with a 90-day notice.
The new agreement adds language that details how much the university is allowed to raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs on health care over the term of the second successor contract. The university cannot raise either premiums or out-of-pocket costs by more than 35 percent.
According to Kich, the proposal sent out by the university last Saturday made it look like the union was focusing on health care and money, but in reality they want the ability to collectively bargain.
“One, anybody who thought this was about money will very quickly see that this isn’t about money because we’re taking a very sizeable hit but having said that, it’s not as big of a hit as we would have taken under the imposed contract,” Kich told the Leader. “And it’s also, even more importantly in terms of the size of it, is it’s not open ended. A lot of the elements of the imposed contract basically, there was no telling how much it was going to cost anybody because they were basically taking away the right to bargain over it.
“And then the other part of it is, I think pretty successfully we protected our bargaining rights, we protected some basic important elements in the contract and some of the principles that kind of underline the contract. … When we go back to the table in five years, we won’t have lost anything at the table and that’s important to us because the contract basically — and this is what we’ve been saying all along — protects our … shared governance rights. It means the faculty has meaningful input into decision making.”

Pick up a copy of Tuesdays Evening Leader to read the full story.

Category: