Live Blog: APSCUF v. PASSHE

Category:  News
Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at 9:30 PM
Live Blog: APSCUF v. PASSHE by The Spectator

Stay tuned for updates throughout the night. 

-- 9:53 p.m. -- 

After five days of negotiations, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has offered their final proposal to the Association of Pennsylvania State College Union Faculties (APSCUF) regarding contract negotiations, stating “they are done negotiating.”

 “Negotiations have ended for tonight. A strike is still entirely up to faculty,” said PASSHE spokesman and media manager Kenn Marshal. 

The final proposal included raises to all permanent and temporary faculty and a health care package “identical” to what other state system employees have.

“We don’t understand how APSCUF can argue that faculty members should be entitled to a better health care plan than our other employees. These are difficult times for our universities. If APSCUF won’t agree to share more of the costs for their own health care, it will threaten our ability to keep tuition affordable for students,” said Marshall. 

 The press release also stated that the new proposal would grant permanent faculty raises in each of the three remaining contract years. Those raises ranging from 7.25 percent to 17.25 percent for individual faculty members. Regular faculty would also receive an additional cash payment of $1,000 in January.

-- 10:04 p.m. --
According to Fox 29 Philly, which centralized the story on West Chester University, faculty (ASPCUF) left without a contract and will be picketing in the morning. The legitimacy of this report is still in question, with more news reportedly to come at 11:00 p.m.

-- 10:20 p.m -- 

The state system is also offering part-time temporary faculty raises in each of the three years, with no workload changes. Temporary faculty in the state system currently receive a minimum of $5,826 per three-credit course , which is more than double the regional average of about $2,700, according to PASSHE’s news release.

The live feed from APSCUF President Ken Mash can be found here or watched on this page. 

-- 10:35 p.m. - APSCUF Livestream --- 

"Our number one goal is to get a decision made this evening."
Ken Mash

While state system and faculty union negotiators have made “significant” progress during the five day negotiation session, numerous issues still remain on the table.

However, the state system has withdrawn more than two dozen previously proposed contract changes. Including, the proposal that would require full-time temporary faculty to teach an additional class each semester; the proposal to allow some graduate students to teach labs and clinics; and the proposal that would allow university presidents to transfer faculty from one department to another to meet students’ classroom needs.

"There has to be a point where we have to stand up for ourselves."
Ken Mash

“These are difficult times for our universities. If APSCUF won’t agree to share more of the costs for their own health care, it will threaten our ability to keep tuition affordable for students,” said Marshall in the state system’s recent press release.

A strike has not occurred in the state system for more than 30 years. APSCUF that a strike will not officially be called until 4:59 a.m. tomorrow morning. APSCUF is still considering PASHHE's proposal. 

According to the live stream, if an agreement is reached overnight, APSCUF and PASSHE will independently update their individual websites with pertinent information. 

-- 10:50 p.m. -- 

“Since Friday we have been working around the clock to avoid a strike, we have said all along we are trying to fight for the quality of our system, for the quality of higher education. We stood steadfast on the issues of academic quality. It was a hard struggle to try and protect some of those things, [but] we stood hard to do that,” said APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash. 

Mash continued, “By walking out of negotiations, the state system abandoned more than 100,000 students. They [PASSHE] can’t lose a little sleep for our students?”

Marshall commented on faculty potentially striking , by saying, “The decision to strike is the faculty union’s. We don’t believe walking out on students is the appropriate course of action, but it is their [APSCUF] right if that is what they choose to do."

 Students from various schools in the state system commented on the live feed, most students expressed their support for the faculty union.

“Thank you for everything you are doing for us as students. Stay strong and know many of us are here with you. We need the best professors to be able to show PA has the best schools. I love my professors at CalU and support them,” commented one California University of Pennsylvania student.

“MU students are with APSCUF all the way. You’ve done nothing but ask for negotiations for two years.”

Another student from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania commented on the live feed, stating, “MU students are with APSCUF all the way. You’ve done nothing but ask for negotiations for two years.”

APSCUF is continuing to negotiate among themselves, and stated that a strike will not officially be called until 4:59 a.m.

“Final decision about a strike will come at 4:59 a.m. We are sticking by the deadline.”

As of right now, the strike is not official, but APSCUF will be considering PASSHE's proposal through the night. Stay on this page for more information.

-- 11:42 p.m. -- 

PASSHE has stated via Twitter, "Students should report to their scheduled calsses, unless their univeristy states otherwise."

Edinboro University has already informed its students via email that "Students should plan to report ot their classes as scheduled and will be responsible for attending the calsses of instructors who do not strike on any given day."

However, Edinboro University President Dr. H. Fred Walker stated that "It’s important to stress that a strike does not mean classes are cancelled. Some classes will  continue as usual because not all of our faculty will choose to strike, and some instructors can be expected to return to their classrooms at some point after the first day.  Students will be responsible for attending the classes of instructors who come to work. Our guidance to students is that they should attend their classes in the event of a strike because we don’t know who would engage in a strike or for how long."

Walker also shared that the university cannot over rule faculty member's right to accredit grades to students.

"No impact on the grades of students in the classes of striking professor,s or change in our attendance policy, is being implied by our guidance that students should attend their classes if a faculty strike should occur. The University has no plans to replace striking instructors, and that includes no plans to assign grades to the students in their classes," said Walker.

APSCUF reinerated their devotion to staying at the table until the 4:59 a.m. deadline.

"APSCUF is not on strike. We are still at the table and sticking to the deadline," said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

-- 2:20 a.m. -- 

APSCUF remains at the table, continuing negotiations amongst themselves into the early morning hours.

"It's 2 a.m. We're still here," stated APSCUF via Twitter.

-- 3:15 a.m. -- 

APSCUF stays commited to staying at the negotiation table. A strike has yet to be called. 

"It's 3 a.m. We're still here," stated APSCUF's Twitter.

APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton also commented on the continuing negotiations, "No updates at the moment. We [APSCUF] are still waiting."

-- 4:05 a.m. -- 

With 54min to go until the strike deadline, APSCUF continues to discuss contract negotiations, stating on their Twitter "It's 4 a.m. We're still here."

-- 4:21 a.m. -- 

APSCUF posts state systems number on Twitter. "The State System's office number is 717-720-4000." Only 38min remain until he strike deadline. "It's [the state sytstem phone number] there in case anyone wants to call it," said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

-- 5:02 a.m. -- 

The Association of Pennsylvania State College Union Faculties (APSCUF) offcially declared a faculty union strike via Twitter and Facebook this morning at 5:02 a.m.

"APSCUF faculty members are officially on strike. Our website is overloaded. Press release will be visible soon," as stated on APSCUF's Twitter account.

The strike will continue until contract negotiations are agreed upon with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). 

Coverage of the rest of the strike will be found here, on Edinboro Now, and on the Day 1 article

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