Union faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities have given their leadership the authority to call a strike. Ninety-five percent of the faculty who voted supported the strike authorization.
“The overwhelming support for our negotiations committee and our negotiations team sends a strong message to the State System,” said Dr. Steve Hicks, president of The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. (APSCUF) “Our members are united for a fair contract that benefits all faculty and students by maintaining quality education.”
Members cast ballots at 14 campuses across the state earlier this week. The votes were counted Friday and the results were immediately released.
The vote empowers union chapter presidents at each school to call a strike. The union’s leadership said it plans to meet within the next ten days to discuss the implications of the strike authorization vote and a potential strike date.
“APSCUF has been working diligently to settle a contract with the State System,” Hicks said, “We will continue to do everything we can to reach an agreement. A strike is truly a last resort.”
Faculty and coaches have been working without a contract since June 2011. Talks have stalled over issues including compensation for temporary instructors, health care benefits and online education.
Another negotiating session is set for Dec. 11. Meanwhile, classes will continue for the system's 120,000 students. There has never been a faculty strike in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.