Bloomsburg, PA- After just 3 days on the picket line, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Facilities (APSCUF) has ended their strike with the professors of the 14 state schools in the state of Pennsylvania. The new contract, which was signed on Friday, Oct. 21, ends the strike that began on 5 am on the Wednesday prior. The new 3 year deal is set to expire on June 30, 2018.
In a press release by Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, the board director Cynthia D. Shapiro was quoted saying, “We are pleased to get to this point and look forward to the conclusion of the process. Once again, everyone can focus on what matters most- teaching and learning.”
This was the first strike in the history of APSCUF, which represents nearly 5,500 faculty members. Their previous contract has been expired since June 30, 2015, but negotiations have been going on since 2014.
During the 3 day strike, all 14 state universities remained opened, and classes continued either by substitute or by professors choosing not to join the picket line. However, while the strike did not last long, the goal remained to end the conflict as soon as possible, since over 100,000 students were out of classes. There were two main locations where professors at Bloomsburg University took to the picket lines. One in front of the iconic Carver Hall, and one near the back entrance to the school near the Student Rec Center. To see the exact locations, click here.
The new contract which was signed by the Board of Governors provides pay raises for all employees, but does require them to pick up a greater financial responsibility for their health care costs. Union spokeswoman, Kathryn Morton had said, “The faculty had made concessions on salary and benefits in return for the university system withdrawing proposed contract changes that the faculty had opposed.” Although the faculty did get a raise, they still agreed to a salary package that is significantly lower than those of other unions.
The APSCUF president, Dr. Kenneth M. Mash was quoted saying, “Our primary goals were to preserve quality of education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation, and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected. We achieved every one of those goals, and the faculty were willing to take less than any other bargaining unit in order to preserve those goals. We are relieved to have an agreement that preserves quality public higher education in Pennsylvania and allows our members to get back into the classroom where they belong.
For more information of the PASSHE strike, visit their webpage.