Strike Over; Faculty, State System Reach Tentative Deal

strike-over
The strike is over.

APSCUF 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, according to APSCUF.

“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 APSCUF will release details about concessions and rescinded items in a future statement,” said APSCUF in a release issued Friday afternoon.

“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 committment to public higher education, our universities, and our students.”

Mash continued: “We also were overwhelmed and grateful for the support of our brothers and sisters at other unions. Most of all, with 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.”

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education confirmed that the agreement would provide faculty with pay increases, “and would allow the State System to realize important healthcare cost savings.”

“We are pleased to get to this point and look forward to the conclusion of the process,” said State System Board Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “Once again, everyone can focus on what matters most—teaching and learning.”

“Today is an opportunity for a fresh start,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “Throughout this process, our students have been remarkably patient, and they should be applauded. Now, we look forward to making sure the rest of the year ends strong for them and for our talented faculty.”

Once “final language” is agreed to, the new contract will go to the full APSCUF membership for a ratification vote. If ratified, the tentative agreement then would be brought to the State System’s Board of Governors for final approval.

Full details of the agreement will be released upon final approval.

This was the first strike in APSCUF’s history. The faculty contract expired June 30, 2015, and negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014.


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