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June 24, 2016
For more information, contact:
Kathryn Morton, or 717-236-7486

After today’s negotiations made no progress toward a faculty contract, the union representing Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities’ faculties and coaches has set a date for an emergency legislative assembly.

Delegates from all 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will convene via conference call Aug. 25 to decide whether Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties members will take a strike-authorization vote.

If a majority of delegates approve, APSCUF will set a date for a strike-authorization vote, APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. A simple majority of full APSCUF faculty members then gives Mash, in consultation with APSCUF’s negotiations committee, the authority to set a strike date.

In April, APSCUF delegates decided to postpone calling for a strike-authorization vote, out of concern for students.

“As the faculty and coaches responsible for providing a quality education, we place students at the center of our decisions,” Mash said. “But the changes the State System wants to make to our contract would make it nearly impossible for our members to deliver that quality. We are fully prepared to stand up for our current students, our future students, for all our alumni, and ourselves.”

Today’s session was a continuation of the June 10 negotiations, at which the State System put a 146-page document on the table, the first multi-year proposal since negotiations began in late 2014. APSCUF’s proposal was seven pages.

The State System’s proposal contained 249 changes, including:

• Increased teaching by adjuncts and graduate students
• Increased workload resulting in a 20 percent reduction in salary for adjunct faculty
• Increased workload for those teaching labs
• A new emphasis on distance education
• Several areas where there would be a reduction in compensation

The June 10 session consisted primarily of State System negotiators reading the proposed changes and responding to questions. Today’s meeting continued that presentation.

“They are proposing so many changes that it all just collectively seems like noise,” Mash said. “The one thing that rings out is that these changes would turn our universities into degree factories, not places for our students to earn a quality education.

“We knew our meetings in June would be important for determining the path that we’re headed down, and now we know we’re headed in an unproductive direction. None of us want to strike, but we will be prepared to do so, should we need to.”

Neither the faculty nor the coaches at the State System universities have been on strike.

June 30 is the one-year anniversary of the faculty contract’s expiration. Other statewide public-sector unions signed one-year deals that included step increases in January 2015. Previously, the State System offered one-year contract proposals that called for givebacks.

The next negotiations session is slated for July 19.

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.