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September 29, 2016

Contract negotiations continue: Pa. hopes to avoid strike from state university faculty

With weeks until a scheduled strike, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have returned to the negotiating table Thursday.

That's exactly what the State System wanted after the union, which represents 14 universities across Pennsylvania, announced its plans to strike on Oct. 19.

“Although we have been treated unfairly, I pledge to keep going to the table for the sake of our students and our universities,” APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said in a news release. “We just hope we will not be met with more of PASSHE’s cynical showboating.”

The two are attempting to come to an agreement on a faculty contract that expired in June 2015. The union is seeking larger changes like more permanent faculty and fewer adjunct professors.

The union's announcement to strike came after the state denied its suggestion to negotiate the new contract by using a three-person panel that would be picked by both parties.

“APSCUF has agreed to our request to meet on Sept. 29 and return to negotiations,” State System spokesman Kenn Marshall said in a news release. “We are ready to stay at the table until an agreement is reached. This is too important to our students and faculty, and we need to make progress. We look forward to continuing discussions and are hopeful we can move toward an agreement.”

The union represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches. A strike would impact staff and students at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.