POSTED BY HANK REICHMAN
The following is the text of a media release issued this afternoon by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF):
The strike is over.
Faculty negotiators have reached a tentative agreement with Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The three-year deal, ending in June 30, 2018, concludes a strike that began 5 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. Faculty members will leave the picket lines immediately.
To preserve quality education, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties accepted concessions to salary and benefits in exchange for eliminating most of the 249 changes the State System proposed in June. Also for the sake of students, APSCUF agreed to a salary package that was significantly lower than that of the other unions. APSCUF will release details about concessions and rescinded items in a future statement.
“Our primary goals were to preserve quality education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation, and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected,” APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. “We achieved every single one of those goals, and the faculty were willing to take less than every 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.
“We are thankful to Gov. Tom Wolf for his commitment to reaching an agreement. We may never have received a deal if it were not for his commitment to public higher education, our universities, and our students.”
APSCUF Vice President Jamie Martin thanked others who were pivotal in the process.
“We are especially grateful to Majority Leader Dave Reed, Rep. Mike Hanna, Sen. Judy Schwank, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Vince Hughes, the leadership of all four caucuses, and other members of the legislature,” Martin said.
Mash continued: “We also were overwhelmed and grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters at other unions. Most of all, we thank our students. If any high school student is looking for a place to go to school, they should look at how much all our students supported their faculty. We have phenomenal students, and we are proud to be able to return to the classroom to supply the quality of public higher education they deserve.”
This was the first strike in APSCUF’s history. The faculty contract expired June 30, 2015, and negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014.
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.