Live Blog: Strike Day 1

Category:  News
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 at 5:38 AM
Live Blog: Strike Day 1  by The Spectator

The APSCUF strike has officially begun as of 4:59 a.m, the first time APSCUF has gone on strike. Stay tuned here for more details and a live stream of all information throughout the strike. 

-- 5:49 a.m -- 

So far, no information regarding a timeline of events between PASSHE and APSCUF has been released. The last correspondence from the university was almost 7 hours ago. 

APSCUF spokesperson, Kathryn Morton, has stated in an email, "Until the state system negotiates a contract APSCUF believes is fair to students and to faculty, faculty members will be on strike, starting 5 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. The strike will end when negotiators reach a contract." 

A student strike, launched by the Edinboro Action and Coordination Committe, has started as well, targeting known picket locations on campus that will reportedly continue throughout the day alongside the faculty lines. 

-- 6:23 a.m. -- 

The gallery on this page has been updated with photos from the strike, with more coming throughout the day.

APSCUF has updated its student faq sheet here to include a reiterated idea- "If the state ststem negotiates a fair contract, the strike will end." 

In a new email from Edinboro University President H. Fred Walker, he stresses that "classes are not cancelled, and university services such as housing and dining will continue to be available." 

"I am here for you, along with hundreds of dedicated staff members and faculty who have chosen to remain on the job. To help you with questions or concerns you may have, I will lead information sessions for students today at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Louis C. Cole Auditorium-Memorial Hall. If you are unable to attend, staff members across campus will be ready with answers to frequently asked questions and can direct you to help with your specific circumstances," Walker said. 

PASHHE has still yet to comment on the strike. 

--7:03 a.m -- 

Hour two of the strike. Campus police are clearing the stairs of student protesters at Reeder Hall. Faculty has been chanting "they're allowed to stand there." 

We are still without comment from any PASSHE representative. 

--7:10 a.m -- 

Over an hour into striking, and over 300 faculty members and several students stand on the picket line outside of Reeder Hall at Edinboro University, along with faculty members protesting on state university campuses throughout the commonwealth.

 “I think it’s [the strike] necessary and it needed to happen. I think a lot of people also don’t understand the strike, so if we can get out there, we can tell people what it’s really about [and] that will really help our cause and our professors,” said Edinboro University senior Dannielle McGahen.

"I think they [PASSHE] should know we will be out here as long as it takes.”
Dannielle McGahen

McGahen continued, “I’ve seen my professors do too much for us and support us in so may different ways, that it wouldn’t be right to not come out and support them."

"I think they [PASSHE] should know we will be out here as long as it takes.”

Edinboro University APSCUF chapter spokesperson Dr. Jim Wertz also commented on last night’s final negotiation session and the strike.

“We [APSCUF] submitted a proposal to PASSHE that included $50 million in concessions; PASSHE’s looking for $70 million in concessions as a starting point. So they submitted what they considered to be their last best offer last night at 8:45 p.m. and walked away from the table,” said Wertz.

Wertz continued, “At 11:45 p.m. APSCUF attempted to use back channel negotiations to get the state system back to the table; they never showed up. Our negotiations team stayed until 4:59 this morning and at 5 a.m. they declared a strike.”

The exact length of the strike is unknown, other than it will continue until a contract APSCUF believes to be fair is reached.

“In this political climate, with the things the state system is looking for, we could be here for a while,” said Wertz.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has yet to address the strike, or continue negotiations.

Today, ETV manager Branden Montgomery took a look at what students are feeling about the strike: 

-- 7:40 a.m. -- 

Edinboro Campus Media interviews State Representative candidate Pete Zimmer regarding the strike. 

-- 8:50 a.m. -- 

Another video from ETV featuring footage from this morning's strike. 

Three hours into the faculty union strike, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) still has not responded to the strike occurring.

Faculty members and students remain on the picket line, until a “fair” contract is reached.

“I think it’s really unfair to the students, they want a quality education."
Dr. Michael Bucell

“I think it’s really unfair to the students; they want a quality education. This just goes to show how determined the faculty are to have a quality, higher education for their students,” said Edinboro University chapter APSCUF president Dr. Michael Bucell.

Bucell also commented on the students who joined the faculty picket line.

“They (students picketing) are awesome. They appreciate what quality higher education means, and they support their faculty 100 percent,” said Bucell.

Edinboro University senior Conor McCracken, one of the students on the picket line with faculty, commented on the strike and last night's negotiations with PASSHE.

“For one thing, I’m very dismayed by what PASSHE brought to the table, especially in the way of negotiations. They seem to be very unwilling to work with the faculty union, and at this point in time, I feel like the faculty union most strongly represents the best interest of the students,” said McCracken.

APSCUF members have dispersed from their original striking location along Meadville Street, and are now located on various perimeters of the Edinboro University campus; these perimeters include Normal Street and Perry Lane.

Bucell shared that faculty members will continue striking “until we [APSCUF] get a fair contract. We have to get back to negotiating and settle this.”

-- 9:15 a.m. -- 

President H. Fred Walker has started addressing concerns at a public forum, in which tensions rose as students began to express their perspectives on the strike so far. Below is our Facebook live stream, as well as some quotes from Walker himself. 

"I have no interest in taking sides, I am here to pick up the pieces and bring us together as a community."
President H. Fred Walker

-- 10:28 a.m. -- 

Kenn Marshall, media manager/spokesperson for PASSHE, said in an email, "We want to see the strike end as soon as possible, and will do all that we can to see that happens. We need APSCUF to work with us, though."

"Now that the strike is actually happening, most of the activity will be at the campus level," Marshall said. "We will continue to work with the universities in any way we can assist them. I also would assume most feedback is at the campus level, as well. I haven’t seen that much here; although I have been responding to several phone calls a day, mostly from parents."

"I’m sure much of our focus will be on getting to an agreement on a new contract with APSCUF."

 -- 11:33 a.m. -- 

We're working to finalize statements from both the president of the university today regarding the situation, and will continue to update periodically as necessary. Stay tuned today for the online versions of this week's Spectator stories, as well as more video coverage from ETV. 

--12:44 p.m. -- 

WFSE News Director and Managing Editor for News of The Spectator, Karlee Dies, stepped into the studio to discuss the strike and answer students' questions, available on our soundcloud.

-- 1:59 p.m. -- 

-- 3:56 p.m. -- 

APSCUF members continue to strike. PASSHE has yet to release any statements regarding the strike or negotiations.

 "We are still waiting for the state system to go back to the table," said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

Faculty members will continue to strike until a contract they view as fair is agreed upon.

-- 8:18 p.m. -- 

Studnets and faculty on the picket line state seeing Edinboro University Provost, and state sytem representative, Dr. Michael Hannan back on campus, which raises questions regarding the reconvening of negotiations and if PASSHE representatives state-wide have left Harrisburg.

"I haven't heard of a next negotiations date so far. Meanwhile, APSCUF continues to wait for the state system to return to the table. APSCUF has asked state system negotiators to return, but they have not yet," said APSCUF spokesperson Kathryn Morton.

Morton continued, "If the state system returns to the table, APSCUF's negotiations team will go back right away. The faculty being on strike is all the more incentive to get back to the table as soon as possible. We want to settle a contract so faculty can go back to educating their students."

PASSHE has yet to release any information about returning to the negotiations table. Faculty members will continue to strike until what they believe is a fair contract is reached.

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