Faculty at Pa. Universities Approve Strike Authorization Vote

09.13.16 | Bob Price

We're another step closer to possibly having a faculty strike at Mansfield University.
 
Faculty members at Mansfield and 13 other state universities have approved a strike authorization vote.
 
It gives faculty union leaders the ability to call a strike but Union President Kenneth Mash says that's still a last resort.
 
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties Monday counted ballots, which were cast last week at universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Of those 82 percent of APSCUF faculty members who voted, 93 percent were in favor of authorization.
 
APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said in a news release Monday, "We will not set a strike date until we have at least one more chance to go to the negotiations table to ensure that we are doing everything we can do.
 
The next negotiating session is scheduled for Friday.  
 
The union's news release said faculty are objecting to State System proposals that would, among other issues, substantially increase the use of temporary faculty in lieu of permanent faculty, would make use of students with few graduate credits to teach courses, would stop funding faculty research and professional development, would force on-campus students into distance education sections, would cut the lowest-paid faculty members' salaries by 20 percent, and would charge more for reduced medical benefits while salaries remain stagnant.
 
System officials say they need contract changes to deal declining enrollments at many of the universities and financial challenges it faces with state support this year being at the same level it was in 1999 and a reluctance to continue to ask students to pay more in tuition.