The 2016 fall semester started on August 29th with students and professors reporting to classrooms for “Sylly Week.” For everyone, including the new freshman students, this was the official end to their summer vacation. Not many people thought that the first day of classes would start off with discussions about a possible strike happening at their school.
Over the past few months, professors and faculty members of the 14 state schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have gone without a contract. Faculty members are dealing with problems such as a 200 percent increase in their health care cost and working more than what they are being compensated for.
Travis Cronan, a Mass Communications Professor at Bloomsburg University says, “I do not agree with adjunct and temporary full-time faculty working more for less.” Cronan feels that this would later affect people trying to work their way into permanent positions.
Not only is the union planning a strike for the sake of the faculty members, they are also concerned for the well being of the students. Students at Bloomsburg University appreciate the support and are also involved in their own style of protest. Every Monday students are conducting sit-ins until there is a negotiation.
“Yes, the time off sounds nice, but I did come here to learn, so I want classes to continue,” said Andrew Mies, a student at Bloomsburg University who is against the strike.
Negotiations are still underway for a contract but if there is no resolution within the next few meetings, the union has threatened to strike later this month. Although this may affect the semester and possibly the winter session, the faculty members have a true concern for their sake and for the students.
The following statement is from the union:
“The message of today’s vote is a simple one: We do not want to strike, but we won’t allow a large part of our membership to be put in financial peril,” Coach Executive Leader John Gump said. “A more than 200 percent increase in cost to pay for a healthcare plan that delivers less to many of our members and their families is unacceptable, and we stand together to say the State System has to do better.”
“I hope the date comes and goes, so I can continue doing what I signed up for, and that is to prepare students for future careers”, explained Cronan.