Ten­ta­tive deal ends strike

Pro­fes­sors at Penn­syl­va­nia uni­ver­si­ties call off walk­out

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Staff and wire re­ports

The union rep­re­sent­ing strik­ing pro­fes­sors at 14 Penn­syl­va­nia state uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing West Ch­ester Uni­ver­sity, reached a ten­ta­tive con­tract agree­ment Fri­day and im­me­di­ately ended a walk­out that was in its third day.

Ed­ward Lor­dan, a spokesman for the WCU union chap­ter, said fac­ulty would be back to work by mid­night tonight. “We’re re­lieved for the stu­dents,” Lor­dan said. “There were con­ces­sions on both sides, which is a sign of a good agree­ment.”

Both sides thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for help­ing to end the im­passe, which had dis­rupted classes for more than 100,000 stu­dents.

“We are re­lieved to have an agree­ment that pre­serves qual­ity pub­lic higher ed­u­ca­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia and al­lows our mem­bers to get back into the class­room where they be­long,” said union pres­i­dent Ken­neth Mash.

The new three-year con­tract pro­vides raises for all em­ploy­ees but also re­quires them to pick up a greater share of their health care costs. The ten­ta­tive con­tract agree­ment must now be rat­i­fied by the union mem­ber­ship be­fore go­ing to the state sys­tem’s board of gover­nors for fi­nal ap­proval.

“To­day is an op­por­tu­nity for a fresh start,” said Chan­cel­lor Frank T. Bro­gan, who over­sees the state uni­ver­si­ties. “Through­out this process,

“To­day is an op­por­tu­nity for a fresh start.” — Penn­syl­va­nia State Sys­tem of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Chan­cel­lor Frank T. Bro­gan

our stu­dents have been re­mark­ably pa­tient, and they should be ap­plauded. Now, we look for­ward to mak­ing sure the rest of the year ends strong for them and for our tal­ented fac­ulty.”

Pro­fes­sors walked off the job Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter the union turned down what the uni­ver­sity sys­tem said was its last con­tract of­fer.

Union spokes­woman Kathryn Mor­ton said fac­ulty had made con­ces­sions on salary and ben­e­fits in re­turn for the uni­ver­sity sys­tem with­draw­ing pro­posed con­tract changes that fac­ulty had op­posed. It said it would pro­vide de­tails at a later time.

The union, As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia State Col­lege and Uni­ver­sity Fac­ul­ties (APSCUF) rep­re­sents more than 5,000 fac­ulty and coaches at the staterun uni­ver­si­ties: Blooms­burg, Cal­i­for­nia, Cheyney, Clar­ion, East Strouds­burg, Ed­in­boro, In­di­ana, Kutz­town, Lock Haven, Mans­field, Millersville, Ship­pens­burg, Slip­pery Rock, and West Ch­ester.

Penn State, Tem­ple Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh and Lin­coln Uni­ver­sity — schools that re­ceive large state ap­pro­pri­a­tions and of­fer in­state tu­ition — were not af­fected.

Strik­ing in­struc­tors said they did not strike solely for health ben­e­fits or salary, but also to pre­serve the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion for stu­dents by sup­port­ing fac­ulty at ev­ery level of pay and ex­pe­ri­ence. One pro­vi­sion with­drawn by the uni­ver­sity sys­tem would have re­quired tem­po­rary fac­ulty to teach an ad­di­tional class each se­mes­ter.

The Penn­syl­va­nia State Sys­tem of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (PASSHE) is one of the na­tion’s largest pub­lic uni­ver­sity sys­tems. State fund­ing, $444 mil­lion this year, is about the same as it was 17 years ago, even as full­time en­roll­ment has risen more than 10 per­cent.

This strike was the first in the sys­tem’s 34-year his­tory.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The union rep­re­sent­ing strik­ing pro­fes­sors at 14 Penn­syl­va­nia state uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing West Ch­ester Uni­ver­sity, reached a ten­ta­tive con­tract agree­ment Fri­day and im­me­di­ately ended a walk­out that was in its third day.

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