Coaches could join faculty picket line “off the clock,” but have not set strike date

Category:  News
Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 3:15 PM

While five days remain until the potential faculty union strike, and while the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) are returning to the negotiation table, coaches have yet to set a strike date in response to their contract negotiations.

“They (coaches) are contractually obligated to continue working unless they themselves are on strike, so if faculty go on strike Wednesday, coaches would not walk out,” said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

However, coaches reserve the right to join faculty on the picket line if they wish to do so, though in a more unofficial capacity.

“Coaches could show support of the faculty by joining the faculty picket line when coaches are off the clock,” Morton said.

State system media relations manager Kenn Marshall addressed the possibility of coaches’ joining the picket line Wednesday, saying, “That’s entirely their (coaches) call. If they do, we (PASSHE) intend to keep the universities open and continue all operations to the greatest extent possible.”

Marshall also commented on what would happen if coaches do end up striking. “I don’t know the exact process they would have to go through before they could go on strike, from their union standpoint. There is no legal requirement that they provide any advance notice.” 

Marshall continued, “We don’t have an agreement with the coaches; how close we are to an agreement could well be interpreted different by them than by us.”

In the event that coaches do strike, with or without a set strike date, the state system has no intent “to hire ‘substitute’ coaches.”

While coaches have not set an exact strike date, athletic directors and athletic trainers are a part of APSCUF’s faculty bargaining unit, and are scheduled to strike on Oct. 19 with faculty, if a contract agreement is not reached beforehand.

The coaches’ bargaining unit last met on Oct. 4, making progress on contract negotiations, but not reaching a final contract. The two sides did not agree upon a future negotiation date.

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

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