As strike date draws near, talks con­tinue

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @afarence on Twit­ter

As the Oct. 19 strike date set by the union for state univer­sity fac­ulty and coaches comes closer, both par­ties have re­leased con­flict­ing state­ments over the progress of talks aimed at pre­vent­ing the strike.

The Penn­syl­va­nia State Sys­tem of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, (PASSHE) and the fac­ulty union, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia State Col­lege and Univer­sity Fac­ul­ties (APSCUF), re­leased a flurry of state­ments Thurs­day over the progress in ne­go­ti­a­tions.

In a state­ment re­leased by PASSHE spokesman Kenn Mar­shall, he stated progress had been made to­ward an agree­ment, how­ever a state­ment re­leased by the fac­ulty union on the same day in­di­cated that tem­pers flared dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions, and also an-

nounced that the union filed an un­fair-la­bor-prac­tice charge against the state sys­tem last week. Buried far­ther down in the state­ment, union of­fi­cials did ac­knowl­edge some progress was made.

“Although we have been treated un­fairly, I pledge to keep go­ing to the ta­ble for the sake of our stu­dents and uni­ver­si­ties,” Kenneth M. Mash, pres­i­dent of APSCUF, wrote. “We just hope we will not be met with more of PASSHE’s cyn­i­cal show­boat­ing.”

In PASSHE’s state­ment, of­fi­cials wrote that some progress was made towards an agree­ment, and re­it­er­ated they have of­fered APSCUF fac­ulty $159 mil­lion in raises and stated the union has not agreed to a health care plan sim­i­lar to what other state sys­tems and em­ploy­ees have.

“We con­tinue to ex­plore mul­ti­ple op­tions for find­ing ways to gen­er­ate cost sav­ings that are nec­es­sary in or­der to af­ford the raises we have of­fered,” Mar­shall wrote. “We have never worked so hard to try to give some­one a pay raise.”

Also in a state­ment Thurs­day, APSCUF of­fi­cials stated dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions that state sys­tem rep­re­sen­ta­tives wanted to turn tem­po­rary fac­ulty into “teach­ing ma­chines,” by in­creas­ing their work­load and cut­ting salary.

In a fol­low-up email with Mar­shall, he wrote that the term was “never used in ref­er­ence to state sys­tem fac­ulty.”

APSCUF fac­ulty have re­peat­edly stated they do not want to strike, but will if they feel they are not ne­go­ti­ated with fairly. In pre­vi­ous dis­putes, ne­go­ti­a­tions never failed to the point where a strike was en­acted, but the union cau­tions it has come in­creas­ingly close in re­cent years.

Both sides have re­peat­edly failed to see eye-to­eye on is­sues such as health care and course load, and both sides have re­peat­edly said they are keep­ing stu­dents at­tend­ing uni­ver­si­ties in the state sys­tem in their best in­ter­ests.

Blooms­burg, Cal­i­for­nia, Cheyney, Clar­ion, East Strouds­burg, Ed­in­boro, In­di­ana, Kutz­town, Lock Haven, Mans­field, Millersville, Ship­pens­burg, Slip­pery Rock, and West Ch­ester uni­ver­si­ties are all part of PASSHE, and APSCUF rep­re­sented all fac­ulty from all the state uni­ver­si­ties.

ADAM FARENCE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Union mem­bers be­long­ing to West Ch­ester Univer­sity’s fac­ulty protested on the univer­sity’s cam­pus Sept. 7.

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