Published in The Snapper the week of October 4.
As the date for the potential teacher’s union strike nears, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel — yet.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, otherwise known as APSCUF, has been working under an expired contract for 464 days. The state system has attempted to come up with a resolution, but the union collectively decided that the changes would be detrimental to the staff and the students.
September 29, APSCUF and the state system met once more to find a common ground for the negotiations at hand, despite APSCUF’s recent filing of a charge of unfair practices under the Public Employe Relations Act.
“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 statement. “We just hope we will not be met with more of PASSHE’s cynical showboating.”
The charges were filed due to the state system’s lack of handling the negotiations in a fair manner; APSCUF rallied since 2014, and the state system did not attempt to bring a new contract to the table until June this year.
“When we began, the State System immediately demanded we make cuts totaling $70 million,” Mash said in a statement. “That is not bargaining. That is dictating.”
During the September 29 meeting, the state system withdrew a number of claims that APSCUF felt were unfair, including one of the most contested proposals that would allow graduate students to teach courses.
Recently, the state system published an FAQ regarding their intentions for their proposed contract; one of their pressing issues includes clearing the air in regard to their cuts in funding for adjunct professors.
The state system insisted that they were modifying how adjunct professors were getting paid; as of now, adjuncts and temporary staff are required to do research and community service on top of their teaching.
PASSHE said they want to take the research and community service out of the equation, and pay staff a lower amount for not doing these additional tasks.
The potential strike will be held October 19 if the state system and APSCUF do not see eye-to-eye on their intentions.
Professors in the teacher’s union are organizing a rally on October 6; all are invited to join. It will be in Harrisburg, outside of the Dixon University Center, where PASSHE’s Board of Governors is meeting.
The next negotiations will be held October 14-16, just a few days before the proposed strike.