MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Professors, faculty members, and students lined North George Street in the heart of the Millersville University campus on Wednesday. They represented union faculty members who walked off the job at Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities.
“Everybody that’s out here on the sidewalk holding a sign today would be much rather in a classroom holding lecture notes,” said Robert Spicer, a Millersville professor.
Just hours before faculty and professors went on strike, talks fell through between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Facilities and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The last offer by PASSHE included permanent faculty raises from 7.25 to 17.25 percent.
“If you look at our total earnings for our faculty, our faculty last year averaged about $99,000 in salary, not including benefits,” PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall said.
“We also fought for our adjunct faculty and made sure they were not getting 20 percent pay cuts,” APSCUF president Dr. Kenneth Mash said.
The last offer from PASSHE also asked union members to pay more for their healthcare. The system asked the union to pay increased premiums of about $7-14 every two weeks.
“On average, most employees pay anywhere from 25 percent to one-third of their healthcare premium,” Marshall said. “We’re asking them to go from 15 percent to 18 percent.”
“I don’t think we are close at this particular point,” Mash said, “because what they’ve told us is we can give up what we have given up and we can do even more. Then, on top of that, we’re supposed to find 30-million more dollars.”
No negotiations have been scheduled.