Fac­ulty vote to call strike at 14 state uni­ver­si­ties

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

HAR­RIS­BURG >> Fac­ulty mem­bers at Penn­syl­va­nia’s 14 state uni­ver­si­ties have voted to call for a strike, but the union rep­re­sent­ing them said Mon­day they’ll keep work­ing with the state sys­tem to re­solve their dis­agree­ments, call­ing a strike a “last re­sort.”

Over 90 per­cent of union fac­ulty mem­bers who voted fa­vored au­tho­riz­ing a strike, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia State Col­lege and Univer­sity Fac­ul­ties an­nounced in a state­ment. Over 80 per­cent of union mem­bers par­tic­i­pated in the vote, the union said.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of fac­ulty clearly grasp the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion,” union pres­i­dent Ken­neth Mash said in a state­ment. How­ever, he added the fac­ulty lead­ers will not set a strike date un­til they meet for ne­go­ti­a­tions at least once more, adding “a strike re­mains the last re­sort.”

The union rep­re­sents about 5,500 fac­ulty and coaches at Blooms­burg, Cal­i­for­nia, Cheyney, Clar­ion, East Strouds­burg, Ed­in­boro, In­di­ana, Kutz­town, Lock Haven, Mans­field, Millersville, Ship­pens­burg, Slip­pery Rock, and West Ch­ester uni­ver­si­ties.

Coaches will vote on strike au­tho­riza­tion on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day.

The union mem­bers are ob­ject­ing to a num­ber of the state sys­tem’s pro­pos­als in­clud­ing: hav­ing em­ploy­ees pay more to­ward the cost of their health in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums; The sys­tem also wants tem­po­rary fac­ulty to teach an ad­di­tional course per se­mes­ter, cuts to the low­est-paid fac­ulty mem­bers’ salaries, and to no longer pro­vide re­tiree health care cov­er­age for fu­ture fac­ulty mem­bers.

Kenn Mar­shall, a spokesman for the sys­tem, said Mon­day they are de­ter­mined to stay at the ta­ble with the union to re­solve their is­sues and “as­sure our stu­dents have un­in­ter­rupted ac­cess to a high-qual­ity, af­ford­able ed­u­ca­tion.”

“While we un­der­stand the lat­est APCSUF vote moves the fac­ulty union one step closer to be­ing able to call a po­ten­tial strike, we re­main com­mit­ted to bar­gain­ing with APSCUF to achieve an agree­ment that is fair to ev­ery­one.”

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