State school students nervous over potential faculty strike

Faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities have allowed their union leaders to call a strike if one is necessary.

Students at Millersville University in Lancaster County heard about and it made the handful we talked to are a little uneasy.

“Other people are at stake, it's not just the teachers, or the students here. It affects everyone,” Millersville Freshman Michael Peberdy said.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties on Friday tallied votes cast at campuses across the state earlier this week and said 95 percent of those who voted supported the strike authorization.

Over 86 percent of the APSCUF membership cast ballots, according to the union which represents over 6,000 faculty and coaches.

APSCUF has been fighting for a fair contract for almost two years, and faculty members have been working without a contract for 16 months.

Union president Dr. Steve Hicks said outstanding issues include pay for part-time temporary faculty members, health care for active members and retirees, and distance education compensation.

A rep with the state system of higher education told abc27 that a fair deal is already on the table and they too are committed to reaching a deal that is in the best interesting of everyone involved, including students.

The rep would not comment on the union's recent vote.

Until a deal is reached Millersville Freshman Micah Talbot anxious. Its more stress he said and Talbot is already footing the tuition bill.

“Coming up with the money to begin with was enough of a worry and having to worry about this too is kind of difficult,” Talbot said.    

As for the union, Hicks said the negotiations committee is planning to meet within the next ten days to discuss the implications of the strike authorization vote and a potential strike date.

There has never been a faculty strike in the state system. Another negotiating session is scheduled for December 11.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. 

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