Right before the 2016-17 school year began, the 14 State Schools heard word of a possible faculty union strike (APSCUF). Automatically, talk began among students, parents, and professors about what would happen if this strike were to occur.
The union is pushing for a fair negotiation with the State System. The State System’s current proposal is paving the way for more temporary faculty members to teach college level classes and limit the amount of permanent faculty members. The State System is also looking to cut faculty health benefits and then charge them more for their benefits.
APSCUF has one individual contract negotiated for the 14universities in the State System. The original vote for the strike took place on Sept. 7 and went through Sept. 9. At the conclusion of the voting process, the vote was in favor of the strike.
On Sept. 22, the President of APSCUF, Ken Mash, announced the strike date for Oct. 19. In The Voice, a Bloomsburg University run newspaper, a letter from Michael Martin, Asst. Professor of English included a quote from Mash. Mash said, “I would note in the seven plus years I have been here, this is the first time I have heard a specific date for a potential labor action, so that is a step further in the process than I have ever experienced. It is a step that concerns and frightens me also.”
The State System has posted updates within the past month to keep students up-to-date with what may potentially happen. The first update was released on Aug. 23, and the most recent update was released on Sept. 27. The latest update included a student fact sheet and FAQ about the possible faculty union strike.
While most of the media is focused on how the potential strike may affect faculty, it is important to look into how the students view the potential strike as well.
When speaking with Brooke Springborn, a senior at Kutztown University, she shared her knowledge on the strike: “As a senior, this is extremely discouraging because it sets us back not only with our education, but our lives. I can’t help but to think about this as a stressful and selfish action.”
Derek Miller, junior at Millersville University, said, “Millersville was my top choice going into college because of the programs and promises. I did not what to go to a university where I would be looked at as a number or where I would see a graduate student more than my decorated professor. I believe that the professors who are standing up to protest this right truly believe in Millersville promises and our student body.”