Pennsylvania state schools end strike with professors
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties sent out this release:
The strike is over.
Faculty negotiators have reached a tentative agreement with Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The three-year deal, ending in June 30, 2018, concludes a strike that began 5 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. Faculty members will leave the picket lines immediately.
To preserve quality education, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties accepted concessions to salary and benefits in exchange for eliminating most of the 249 changes the State System proposed in June. Also for the sake of students, APSCUF agreed to a salary package that was significantly lower than that of the other unions. APSCUF will release details about concessions and rescinded items in a future statement.
“Our primary goals were to preserve quality education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation, and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected,” APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. “We achieved every single one of those goals, and the faculty were willing to take less than every other bargaining unit in order to preserve those goals. 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.
“We are thankful to Gov. Tom Wolf for his commitment to reaching an agreement. We may never have received a deal if it were not for his committment to public higher education, our universities, and our students.”
APSCUF Vice President Jamie Martin thanked others who were pivotal in the process.
“We are especially grateful to Majority Leader Dave Reed, Rep. Mike Hanna, Sen. Judy Schwank, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Vince Hughes, the leadership of all four caucuses, and other members of the legislature,” Martin said.
Mash continued: “We also were overwhelmed and grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters at other unions. Most of all, with thank our students. If any high school student is looking for a place to go to school, they should look at how much all our students supported their faculty. We have phenomenal students, and we are proud to be able to return to the classroom to supply the quality of public higher education they deserve.”
This was the first strike in APSCUF’s history. The faculty contract expired June 30, 2015, and negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014.
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education sent out this release:
Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) have reached tentative agreement on a new contract, ending a three-day strike by faculty that began Wednesday.
Once final language is agreed to, the new contract, which would run through June 30, 2018, will go to the full APSCUF membership for a ratification vote. If ratified, the tentative agreement then would be brought to the State System’s Board of Governors for final approval.
“We are pleased to get to this point and look forward to the conclusion of the process,” said Board Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “Once again, everyone can focus on what matters most—teaching and learning.”
Among other things, the agreement would provide faculty with pay increases and would allow the State System to realize important healthcare cost savings. Details of the agreement will be available upon final approval.
“Today is an opportunity for a fresh start,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “Throughout this process, 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.”
“We are extremely grateful to Governor Wolf for his outstanding leadership in helping us achieve a successful resolution to these long and difficult negotiations,” Mr. Brogan added.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with more than 105,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more who are enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs. Collectively, the 14 universities that comprise the State System offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Nearly 520,000 State System university alumni live in Pennsylvania.
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.