Faculty strike may be looming at 14 state-owned universities

Written by Rachel McDevitt/Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 13, 2016 5:33 AM
Shippensburg University 600 x 340.jpg

(Harrisburg) -- The union representing faculty in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education has voted to authorize a strike.

More than 90 percent of voting members were in favor of hitting the picket lines

Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties have been working without a contract formore than 440 days.

APSCUF President Kenneth Mash says they will go to the negotiating table expecting to work out a contract, but if the State System can't prove it's "serious," union leaders will make a stand.

"It will not be too long before we set that strike date," he says " We're not going to go another semester without a contract."

Sticking points include salary as well as the use of new graduate students and adjunct professors to teach classes.

State System Spokesman Kenn Marshall says the 14 universities are facing the most difficult fiscal challenges in their histories right now.

He notes the final contract has to take the impact on students into account, since they foot the bill for the bulk of the colleges' operations.

"Students' tuition and fees currently account for about three-fourths of our funding, of the revenue to operate our universities," he says. "Any increased costs are going to impact our students significantly."

Mash says faculty members believe they are standing up for students by trying to ensure quality at their institutions.

The next round of talks is slated for Friday.

 Among the 14 campuses in the system are Bloomsburg, Millersville, Kutztown and Shippensburg.

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