The Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF), which represents faculty at Mansfield University and 13 other state-owned universities, began voting on a strike on Wednesday, September 7th.
The APSCUF has not had a contract since June 2015. According to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, adjunct professors should be shelling out more money for health care and teaching additional classes. According to the APSCUF in a September 7th news release, negotiations have been going on since the end of 2014, with health care being a main issue.
The APSCUF met with the PA State System of Higher Education on Thursday, September 8th, to discuss a healthcare plan that was presented by the State System in 2015. However, not much progress was made at the meeting. According to APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash in a news release, “It’s clear there is no movement on healthcare in either direction.”
In August, the State System said they would give $600 to full-time faculty members one time if they signed off on the contract. According to APSCUF Vice President Jamie Martin in a news release, the one-time payment “would not begin to cover the thousands of dollars the plan could cost anyone who actually got sick and had to use it.”
Dr. Allan N. Benn, who teaches at East Stroudsburg University, said the following in an APSCUF news release, “We’ve been more than patient… The System has rejected the usual road to a fair contract: realistic exchanges of proposals, considering the needs of the other side, and the actual needs of our students. There is no other way. We must vote ‘yes’ on the strike-authorization memorandum.”
Despite the healthcare issue the APSCUF is trying to get resolved, Mash emphasized that the APSCUF is mainly focused on “issues that affect our students and the quality of education we as faculty members can provide.”
Approximately 5,500 people are members of the APSCUF, including both faculty members and coaches. The APSCUF faculty members will vote until Friday, September 9th. According to the APSCUF in a news release, the ballots will be counted on Monday, September 12th. The coach members of APSCUF will vote on a strike authorization from September 14-15. There has not yet been a teacher’s strike in PA’s State System.
In addition to Mansfield University, coaches and faculty at the following universities are members of the APSCUF: Lock Haven, Clarion, West Chester, Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, California, Kutztown, Millersville, Indiana, Cheyney, Edinboro, Slippery Rock, and Shippensburg.