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September 23, 2016

Amid contract negotiations, state college faculties union sets strike date

The Association of Pennsylvania State College Universities Faculties announced today that they'll strike in less than a month unless the Pennsylvania State System comes up with a fairer contract negotiation for faculty across 14 universities around the state.

The union plans to strike on Oct. 19, officials announced Friday during a press conference.

"We are where we are because my colleagues feel so strongly about protecting the quality of our universities and sticking up for quality education for our students," said Kenneth Mash, APSCUF president at a press conference. "And we do that for the students who are there now but we also do that for future students coming to our universities and we do it too for our alumni."

The announcement came after the State System denied the union's proposal to negotiate contracts using a three-person panel with selections from both the APSCUF and the State System.

The union is asking for larger changes like more permanent faculty as opposed to adjunct professors or to decrease funding that goes toward faculty research and professional development.

Following the announcement, the State System has asked APSCUF to continue negotiations next week to avoid a strike.

“A strike by faculty runs counter to everything that higher education stands for,” said State System spokesman Kenn Marshall said in a news release. “We should be able to find a resolution through meaningful discussion, continued dialogue and reason. We can’t afford to stop meeting. This is too important to our students. We need to continue talking.

The State System said it's offered $159 million in pay raises.

More than 90 percent of the union's members voted for a strike in early September. The two have been fighting for a negotiation since late 2014.

The APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches from schools across Pennsylvania. If a strike happens, it would affect students at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.