Sept. 23, 2016
Faculty members will go on strike Oct. 19, unless the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education reach a contract agreement that is fair to students and faculty. APSCUF will not strike if the State System negotiates a fair contract.
President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, flanked by APSCUF members, announced the date this morning in a press conference that aired on Facebook Live. Journalists also attended the event in person at Red Lion Hotel Harrisburg Hershey in Swatara Township, Dauphin County.
“The State System has asked for tens of millions more in concessions from faculty than they have from anyone else,” Mash said. “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.”
The State System did not agree to APSCUF’s proposal to enter binding arbitration, during which a three-person panel could conclude the contract dispute. Earlier this week, the State System sent APSCUF a formal announcement that it wants to undergo nonbinding fact-finding with a Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board arbitrator. The board did not grant the State System’s request. APSCUF prefers binding arbitration because it would bring the entire matter to a conclusion, Mash said.
In the past week, APSCUF’s negotiations team met five days with the State System. Today and tomorrow, APSCUF leadership and delegate members from all 14 State System campuses are meeting for the organization’s regularly scheduled legislative assembly in Harrisburg. When that concludes Saturday, a strike-training workshop will commence. APSCUF plans to resume talks with the State System in October, after these previously scheduled events. APSCUF is waiting for the State System to respond to the five dates the association offered to negotiate next.
“We will continue to go to the table in an earnest attempt to negotiate a fair deal. It is time for the State System to do the same,” Mash said. “The clock is ticking.”
APSCUF objects to State System proposals that would affect the quality of education faculty members could provide to their students. Such proposals would, among other issues:
- Increase the number of temporary faculty and lead to reductions in permanent faculty who are in a better position to devote themselves to their students.
- Allow students to be taught by new graduate students — new college graduates — instead of faculty with advanced degrees.
- Cut funding for faculty scholarship and professional development that allows faculty to bring current knowledge to students.
- Give university presidents unilateral authority to transfer faculty members to other departments
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.
* This release has been updated to reflect the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board’s decision.