APSCUF to strike Oct. 19

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 at 9:45 PM
APSCUF to strike Oct. 19 by Macala Leigey

Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) announced they will go on strike Oct. 19 if a contract agreement with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is not reached.

APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash announced the strike date via Facebook Live at the union’s most recent press conference last Friday.

“The state system has asked for tens of millions more in concessions from faculty than they have from anyone else,” said Mash in a recent press release published by APSCUF.

“Faculty offered a major healthcare concession, but the state system did not change their offer. We sat with them for days, and they gave us a proposal that purposely went backward. They are intent on hurting educational quality, rewarding themselves while simultaneously cutting
the salaries of our lowest-paid 
members by 20 percent, and balancing their books off the backs of their students and our faculty. We will not be a party to it. Period.”

In response to APSCUF setting a strike date, PASSHE stated that they will return to the bargaining table and that “neither the Board of Governors, the Chancellor, nor the universities want a faculty strike and are working hard to avoid it.”

However, in the event that a strike does take place, PASSHE has developed several strike response plans.

“The system and each university — in abundance of caution — have developed strike response plans that would be put into place if a strike were to occur. The goal of each strike response is to keep the campus open to ensure students and employees are safe, and to keep students on schedule toward the completion of their degrees,” said PASSHE in a recent press release.

According to a press release, the state system is offering the faculty union nearly $159 million in pay raises, providing it accepts the health care changes PASSHE is purposing; along with other operational changes that the system believes would allow the universities to be more “nimble and flexible.”

In addition to the strike date announcement, the state system did not agree to APSCUF’s request to undergo binding arbitration, which would allow a three-person panel to reach a conclusion in the contract dispute.

However, APSCUF also declined PASSHE’s request to undergo nonbinding fact-finding with a Pennsylvania Labor Relation Board arbitrator. APSCUF stated it prefers binding arbitration because “it would bring the entire matter to a conclusion.”

Last Saturday, APSCUF held its regularly scheduled legislative assembly in Harrisburg, along with a strike-training workshop. The union plans to continue negotiations with the state system in October, and is currently waiting for PASSHE’s response to schedule the next negotiation date.

For more information on contract negotiations, visit the union’s website, apscuf. org, or the state system’s website, passhe.edu. 

Macala Leigey is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: apscuf, passhe, strike

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