Members of the AAUP-WSU Executive Committee have been working around the clock, writing press statements, doing interviews, posting on social media, organizing picket shifts and dealing with the campus police. All who can are also doing regular shifts on the the picket lines. We have other members in charge of checking people in for picket duty, supplying picketers with hand and foot warmers providing food for hundreds of strikers, shoveling snow, shuttling picketers from our headquarters to the picket line, putting up and taking down tents everyday.
Our students and been unbelievable. They have brought food and drinks to us on the picket lines. One day last week while I was on the picket line a computer science student crossed the street in front of campus carrying a shopping bag full of hot bowls of chili and thanked us for what we were doing. Students have held two marches walking from campus out to our picket lines and briefly occupied the President’s office on Thursday demanding a meeting with the President.
We have been joined by our brothers and sisters in the labor movement from Dayton area and beyond. Of course Paul Davis was there with us as were others from Cincinnati State. John McNay President of the Ohio Conference was on the line with us. Other chapters from across the state have joined us as well, BGSU, University of Cincinnati, Miami University and faculty from the University of Dayton. This fall the Wright State Chapter affiliated with the Dayton-Miami Valley Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and their support for us has been fantastic. The President Tom Richie and Executive Director Diane Walsh have been on the line with us as have members from IBEW local 82, UFCW local 75 , IUE local 775, Iron Worker’s local 290, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association. The state AFL-CIO blasted out our petition and a petition organized by students across the state. The AAUP-CBC has approved a grant in support of the strike and we have received donations letters of support from other unions across the country.
We have had the support from members of the Dayton City Commission and Senator Sherrod Brown.
We have had great support from the national staff of the AAUP. Ben Ratliff and Kira Schuman have been on the ground for weeks and both Christopher and Julie have also been here to offer their support.
The administration and Board have still refused to negotiate with us believing that our faculty would never strike. Once the strike was a reality, they claimed that they would cover all of our classes. In reality what is happening is that the campus is in chaos. They have threatened students with the loss of financial aid if they fail to attend class. They have some chairs attempting to teach as many as six classes. They have ads on LinkedIn offering to hire hundreds of scabs but there are hundreds of reports from students on social media telling us that substitutes are telling them to read their books or work on previous assignments. We have had reports of clinical sections at hospitals where no instructor showed up so the students left. Their definition of covering a class is having a “sweeper” take attendance! But as one of the signs held up by one of our picketers said “Attendance is not Instruction."
The administration and Board have filed an Unfair Labor Practice against us for not helping them determine how many scabs they need to teach classes and for refusing to provide scabs with the intellectual property of our faculty to enable them to run classes. On Thursday in what is clearly a move of desperation, they filed a Notice of an Unauthorized Strike with the State Employment Relations Board (SERB). Our attorney has told us there is a difference between an illegal strike and and effective strike and what the administration and Board are admitting with this filing is that the strike is effective. We have a hearing at 12 noon tomorrow and SERB will make a decision by 4p the same day.
We are confident that our members will remain united and do whatever is necessary. As the President of the AAUP, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with each of our members who have chosen to take a stand, putting everything on the line, to fight for students and to ensure the continued existence of public higher education as a common good.
Professor Emeritus of Economics
Wright State University
American Association of University Professors