Three days may seem like a short amount of time for some people, but for the professors at 14 state schools in the system of higher education who were without a contract, those three days seemed like they lasted a lot longer than that. As for the students, they too had no idea what to expect.
During the evening hours of Friday October, 21st, Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and the state system agreed upon a three year contract that will last until the month of June in 2018. APSCUF agreed to salary and benefit changes and let go of the other changes that they came up with during the early negotiating in June.
The main concern that the union had was protecting the quality of education for the students while also protecting the professors. According to APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, most of their main goals were met and they knew they needed to get back to running smoothly.
Criminal Justice professor Robert Moschgat stated, “Just remember, this is not about the money, and it’s not about the pay.” The faculty was never in it to benefit themselves, but they too needed to be treated fairly, and they also wanted to see the students being treated fairly as well.
Not only did the faculty have to worry about their contracts and the well-being of the students and their educations, they had no idea how this strike would affect the semester.
Wyatt Gehman, a student at Bloomsburg said, “I was a little worried about not graduating on time because of the strike, but I am glad that we are back to our regular schedule.
This was a concern for the over 5000 faculty members as well as a worry for thousands of students attending the schools throughout the state. This exact problem is what helped lead to an agreement.
Now that both sides have come to terms with the contract negotiations, the semester is back underway and running smoothly for the most part. There have been a few classes that have made up hours during this past week for class time that they missed. Some classes were still held throughout the strike days and those hours don’t need to be made up. It’s like the strike never happened for them.
Although the sides have come to an agreement for now, everyone is unsure on how the next few years will go. Like previously stated, there were quite a few changes that were left out in order for the professors to get back and giving the students what they are paying for.
“If you are here in three years, you can expect for the same thing to happen,” a professor at Bloomsburg University stated, but wishes to remain anonymous. There were too many changes left out, but the faculty members new that they needed to get back to what they do best.
Everyone is pleased that the strike did not have to last more than those long three days, but there are still concerns for the future. There are students at the 14 state schools that will be here in three years, as well as high school students that will be applying to attend within the years to come.
As for now, there isn’t much that can be done. Students will continue to go to class, and professors and coaches will continue to teach their students to the best of their ability. Thankfully, with the support from the faculty and the students, the next three years should continue to run like they have been. Everyone can only hope that when the next contract is up, that there isn’t another problem like this again, or that they can negotiate their concerns in a faster manner.
To see more on how the strike was conducted on the bloomsburg campus, click here to see a video uploaded to YouTube by Paul Weaver.