On November 12, the Wright State University administration informed our Wright State AAUP chapter that they would be invoking the retrenchment article in the faculty collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This comes not long after the WSU faculty went on strike for 20 days in January/February of 2019 after an impasse in contract negotiations.
According to the CBA: Retrenchment is defined as the termination of a Bargaining Unit Faculty Member(s) during any appointment as a result of any of the following three circumstances: (1) financial exigency; (2) significant reduction in enrollment of a College, Department, or Program (here and elsewhere, meaning a program offered for credit) continuing over four or more academic semesters (not counting summer) and which is expected to persist; or (3) discontinuation of a College, Department or Program.
Our Wright State chapter has questioned the university’s finances. Not unlike the situation at the University of Akron, worst case financial projections are being put forward. The financial issues that WSU does face are a result of administrative mismanagement, not faculty, who are the ones generating revenue and profit for the institution.
If the WSU administration follows the retrenchment article in the contract, there may be nothing that the union can do to protect faculty jobs; nevertheless, the chapter has pledged to do everything legally within their power to fight these moves. Because striking is not a possibility, the focus is on making a case against retrenchment and garnering support from the Dayton community.
We will keep our members posted on anything they can do to support the Wright State faculty during this process.