Faculty at state-system schools delay strike decision

Posted: November 28, 2012

The faculty union at the 14 state-supported universities has postponed consideration of a strike until next semester, it told students in a letter Tuesday.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties also asked the students to write to Chancellor John C. Cavanaugh of the State System of Higher Education and "just tell him to be fair."

"After thoughtful deliberation and consideration about how a strike at this time would affect our students, we have decided to postpone consideration of a strike for the rest of this semester," union president Steve Hicks wrote.

Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the state system, said that it was good news for the students that the faculty was postponing its strike decision, but that a contract still needed to be reached.

"We are committed to reaching a fair settlement - a settlement that is fair to everyone, especially the students," Marshall said.

The union's last contract expired in June 2011, and there have been nearly 40 negotiating sessions, union officials said.

The state system is wrangling with the union over health-care costs, compensation for part-time faculty, and pay for distance learning courses.

State funding for the system has declined, as has enrollment. About 27 percent of the system's operating costs are paid by the state.

The union includes 6,000 instructors and coaches at West Chester, Cheyney, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Bloomsburg, Millersville, California, Edinboro, Slippery Rock, Mansfield, Indiana, Clarion, Lock Haven, and Shippensburg Universities.

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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