Classes will continue at Mansfield University on Tuesday, October 25th, after the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education reached an agreement.
The agreement comes after the APSCUF, which represents over five thousand faculty and coaches from 14 State System universities, began striking at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 19th. The strike officially ended on Friday, October 21st. The strike was in regards to the APSCUF not having a contract since June of last year. The contract negotiations had been going on since 2014.
The agreement, which the APSCUF says is “tentative”, is a three-year deal which ends on June 30th, 2018. The APSCUF settled on a salary and benefits after rejecting the majority of 249 changes the State System introduced back in June. According to the APSCUF in a press release, the salary package they agreed to was much less than the salaries other unions receive. The APSCUF says it will make the contract details known in a later statement.
APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash issued the following statement after the contract agreement was made, “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… 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
Mash also thanked Governor Tom Wolf (D). He said, “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 went on to state the following, “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.”
APSCUF Vice President Jamie Martin issued a statement as well. He said, “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.”
The three-day strike was the first strike ever conducted by the APSCUF. Approximately 5,500 faculty and coaches from the following State System Universities are members of the APSCUF: Mansfield, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Shippensburg, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Cheyney, Indiana, West Chester, Edinboro, Millersville, California, and Slippery Rock.