February 4, 2019

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UUP backs Wright State University union in strike

uupdate 2-4-19

CLICK HERE to read UUP President Fred Kowal's Jan. 30 letter to AAUP-WSU

United University Professions stands with its sisters and brothers at Wright State University, who have been on strike since Jan. 22 to preserve and protect their health care coverage and other collectively bargained rights.

Delegates to UUP’s Winter Delegate Assembly in Albany voted Feb. 4 to support the 560 members of the American Association of University Professors-Wright State University Chapter. In the resolution, UUP delegates strongly supported AAUP-WSU members and offered to send a UUP delegation to Dayton, Ohio, to join AAUP-WSU members on the picket line.

The strike is the longest in the history of Ohio higher education.

“It seems pretty cut-and-dried to me,” said Albany Chapter delegate Jim Collins. “If a union is forced into a contract by management and they’ve gone on strike, they deserve our support.”

“I think we must do everything in our power to assist these people in their hour of need,” said Empire State College Chapter delegate Reynolds Jones, pictured above.

AAUP-WSU members went on strike Jan. 22 after administration gave their “last, best” contract offer, which would have moved faculty union members into a health care plan with lesser coverage--the same coverage offered to non-union employees and other staff. The offer also maintained current rules of retrenchment, included no pay raises and would allow faculty to be furloughed on “cost-savings days.”

The union rejected a Feb. 3 offer, which offered pay raises in the last two years and reverted retrenchment, workload and merit pay back to 2014 contract terms. But it would have forced AAUP-WSU members to accept the non-union health plan.

UUP President Fred Kowal sent a Jan. 30 letter to AAUP-WSU offering support. In the letter, posted on the AAUP-WSU website, Kowal expressed UUP’s “unwavering support” for AAUP-WSU.

“UUP stands in solidarity with you, our sisters in brothers in AAUP, in your strike for a fair contract,” wrote Kowal. “The employment terms imposed by the WSU Board of Trustees constitute an outrageous attack on the union’s fundamental rights.

“We applaud your efforts to preserve, protect and defend union rights, working conditions and quality education,” Kowal said in the letter.

In their resolution, UUP delegates also encouraged members to write personal letters of support for AAUP-WSU and send them to the union and Wright State University President Cheryl Schrader.

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