April 9, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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After two hours of heated debate that featured anger and frustration at the lack of progress at the negotiations table and disrespect shown to faculty and coaches at last month’s appropriations hearings in the General Assembly, delegates at the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties’ legislative assembly today determined they would not take a job action this academic year, which ends this May. Instead, delegates voted to call for a strike-authorization vote at either an emergency legislative assembly in the summer or at their regularly scheduled September meeting, should there be no progress at the negotiations table.
“There was palpable outrage in the room, and for most of the debate, it seemed certain we would move toward a strike,” said Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, APSCUF’s president. “However, in the end, my colleagues believed that a strike at the very end of the semester would unfairly burden students and their families. Uncertainty about the budget and the complications of tuition increases have made this a very stressful semester for students. My colleagues wanted to make it clear that their frustration lies with the State System administration and not with the students.
“However, everyone has their limits, and it is clear the delegates are close to theirs. If no progress is made soon, there will certainly be a job action in the future.”
One delegate wanted to make certain that the State System got the message clearly, and his pronouncement, “talk or we walk,” was met with thunderous applause.
APSCUF members have been working under an expired contract for almost a year, and APSCUF was never offered the type of one-year deal signed by Pennsylvania’s other public-sector workers. The most recent negotiations session was Jan. 8, and the next negotiations session is slated for April 28. Neither the faculty nor the coaches at the State System universities have ever been on strike.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties 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.