State system strike continues
WCU subcontracts athletic trainers; university’s homecoming celebration this weekend still on
As the strike continues, the majority of classes on West Chester University’s campus, along with the other 13 universities in the state system have largely stopped, but the university’s homecoming celebration will continue.
Nancy Gainer, a spokeswoman for the university, said the traditional homecoming football game will continue as scheduled Saturday, the only hurdle being the athletic trainers, who are part of the faculty union and currently on strike.
Gainer said the university is subcontracting the athletic trainers, and also said the coaches will be present at the game; however, the band will likely not play since band members are led by faculty.
When asked about the subcontracted athletic trainers, faculty union spokesman Edward Lordan said, “It’s disappointing. We wish they would settle the strike.”
But for the majority of students, classes stopped this week as faculty stayed on picket lines and continued to protest against the state system.
On Wednesday, there were unconfirmed reports of at least one professor crossing picket lines to teach early that morning. Lordan said he believed some professors crossed the picket line.
“I think there are a few,” Lordan said. “But people are not happy about it.”
Lordan also added that he believed Thursday “was a strong day on campus.”
Gainer also said that the university’s interim
president, Christopher Fiorentino, hosted a question and answer session Thursday for students and staff regarding the strike and classes.
“We’re just very hopeful the faculty union and the state system will come to a resolution,” she said. “Everyone cares about the students.”
The union representing the faculty across the state system went on strike at 5 a.m. Wednesday, after months of failed negotiations between the union and state system officials. Most issues centered around course load and health care.
As of Thursday evening, there were no official plans to continue negotiations; however, one person with knowledge of the situation said the union’s negotiating had been called back to Harrisburg.
When asked about that statement, Lordan said that progress had been made through back channels and that there was a lot of “non-official negotiation” going on.
In addition to West Chester University, the state system of higher education includes Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, and Slippery Rock universities.
There are roughly 110,000 students who attend universities in the state system of higher education.
Some West Chester University students have gone on strike with faculty.