FAIRBORN, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The union that represents the faculty at Wright State University is officially on strike.
Despite the frigid temperatures, union members picketed Tuesday morning, holding signs that read "On Strike for Wright." The University and the American Association of University Professors, WSU chapter began contract negotiations in 2017 and failed the reach an agreement.
Rudy Fichtenbaum, the chief negotiator for AAUP-WSU, accused the univerity of negotiating with them, "We did not want to strike," Fichtenbaum told ABC22/FOX45 as union members gathered Tuesday morning, "but the university has given us no choice."
At the center of the strike, faculty say, is quality of education for students. They say the current contract spreads faculty too thin, which they say will make students suffer, "they don't need faculty who are spread so thin," Dr. Noeleen McIlvenna said.
Students said it's only been 24 hours and the strike had already affected their classes.
"When I went into class today a lady told us we were supposed to go to another teacher for our course and I flat out said no." said student Vivian Wells.
Another student said they were being told to do work but it wouldn't be graded.
"We were told that the work that we do through them won't be graded and if or when the teachers return so we were to save our assignments for re-submissions and stuff." said student Lyric Ester.
On Monday, Wright State University President Cheryl Schrader emphasized that students should continue going to class through a strike. "We will not allow union leadership to use our students as bargaining chips," Schrader continued. "The university has an obligation to provide our students with that high quality affordable education."
President Schrader says any changes to class schedule will be communicated through the students' wright.edu accounts.