BLOOMSBURG, Pa- As the negotiations between the State System and the APSCUF, the union that represents the 5,500 faculty members at the 14 state schools, continue, the date for strike has been set for October 19, if no deal is reached. The officials of the State System have agreed to continue negotiations.
The two sides are expected to meet at the negotiation table one last time on October 14 to 16 in a last effort attempt to reach a deal before that October 19 deadline. Both sides have said that a strike is a last resort option, and they will work to ensure that a strike will not occur.
Professors at schools in the PASSHE System, including Bloomsburg, West Chester, and Shippensburg universities, along with the other 11 schools are entering the 16th month of working under an expired contract.
Of the 82% of faculty who voted, 92% voted in favor of strike authorization, during a vote lasting 3 days on September 7 through 9. If no deal is reached, it will be the first faculty walk-out in the system’s 33 year history, and could interfere with classes for more than 100,000 students at the 14 universities.
In a statement released by State System spokesman, Kenn Marshall explained how he was optimistic about the progress made between the two sides. “We are trying to modernize a decades-old faculty union contract to reflect the needs of 21st century students and universities, while maintaining the majority of the language necessary to ensure students continue to receive the highest quality education”, he said.
Students have begun to ask questions about what will happen if the schools close. “I’m worried because the president says he has a plan, but we haven’t heard what the plan is”, said Bloomsburg senior Alex Kidd. Although the State System has said that every effort will be made to keep universities open if a strike occurs, students are preparing for the possibility that classes may not resume.
For more information about the possible strike, and frequently asked questions, visit http://www.passhe.edu/FactCenter/Pages/Communication.aspx. This is a page designed to answer any questions that a student or parent may have.