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WSU, union reach agreement

Nearly a year after voting to join a union, Wright State University full-time faculty not eligible for tenure have their first contract, which offers them raises, creates job security and sets typical workloads.

The American Association of University Professors announced Monday that the union and university had an agreement for the 180 faculty.

It offers them the same job security as tenured employees once they reach their seventh year of service, said Rudy Fichtenbaum, chief negotiator for chapter and a WSU economics professor. Instructors will have continuing employment. They can still be fired, he said, but certain criteria and procedures must be followed.

“We think that’s absolutely critical because it helps protect academic freedom,” said Fichtenbaum, president of the AAUP.

The contract also sets typical course loads for faculty under the semester calendar, which was a key issue behind the group’s motivation to join the union, Fichtenbaum said. After the transition from quarters to semesters, the group felt their work load had gone up, which was “a major concern,” he said.

“We see this contract as protecting the academic integrity of our programs and giving students a better quality education because these faculty will be more accessible,” he said.

Course loads are now set at eight, three-hour courses per year for newer instructors, and seven, three-hour courses, or some equivalent, for those with more than four years of service, according to the contract.

Minimum salaries will also increase — a change that will affect about 30 percent of the union employees, he said. All faculty also get a 2 percent salary increase for 2012-13 and $500 in personal development funds, according to the contract.

Bill Rickert, chief negotiator for WSU, said the university is “very happy” with the contract.

“These faculty are very valuable members of our faculty, so we want them to have a working environment that they enjoy a measure security in exchange for the hard work that they do,” he said.

The AAUP is active on 450 campuses nationwide, including the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College.

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