State university faculty take strike authorization vote while considering new offer

Written by Craig Layne, Radio Pennsylvania and The Associated Press | Nov 14, 2012 4:03 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Professors and coaches at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities are considering a strike authorization vote this week, while negotiators mull a new contract offer from the administration.

Faculty members at campuses like Millersville, Shippensburg, Kutztown and Bloomsburg have been working without a contract since June 2011.

Kenneth Mash of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties says the Corbett administration has already signed contracts with six other unions representing workers at the state schools.

"It's not our goal to go on strike. It's our goal to get a fair contract for the faculty, the same kind of fair contract that the governor signed with the other public sector unions," Mash says.

Kenn Marshall of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education says the next negotiation session is scheduled for December 11.

"We have two more negotiating sessions scheduled in December, and we're hopeful that we can move forward and move closer to a settlement to reach an agreement in a very short fashion," Marshall says.

Among the issues are higher health care deductibles and co-payments as well as compensation for online education.

A committee from the union representing more than 6,000 members will meet Friday to count ballots from the authorization votes.

If passed, the union chapter presidents at every school cab call a strike and 10 of the 14 must approve a walkout.

There has never been a faculty strike in the state system.

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