At 10:30 p.m. tonight, President of APSCUF, Ken Mash, held a Facebook Live discussion to address any questions about the potential strike.
Mash tried to assure us that he and APSCUF are still willing to negotiate as long as they “stand up for [them]selves and [their] colleagues.”
Jamie Martin, Vice President, spoke out about their dedication saying, “We’ve sat in this room since Friday for many hours.” Their days were filled with 12 to 14 hours of negotiating. Martin spoke about how they tried their best to work with the State System while thinking about us, the students, and knowing we support them. She alleged that it seemed as though PASSHE was simply not interested.
Chris Allen, treasurer of APSCUF and a Bloomsburg University professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, stated that he didn’t understand the motivation of the State System to walk away from the table and from over 100,000 students.
One of the questions of those who were watching the discussion was if the current status of the negotiations meant there will be a strike. Mash responded, saying that both APSCUF and PASSHE are processing the proposals. He said, “This is real time. We’re working in real time.”
Mash went on to say that at 5 a.m. tomorrow, Oct. 19, he will have “either a tentative agreement in [his] hands or a picket sign in [his] hands.” Whatever the outcome is, Mash wants to thank his colleagues and the students.
Another question asked was what can be done to stop the strike. APSCUF suggested writing to your legislator. To find contact information for your legislator, you can go to APSCUF’s website where they have a link to help you do so. Mash is hoping that if a lot of people write into their legislator, the State System will come back to make negotiations.
Students were also wondering if they can go on strike with their professors. Mash encouraged students to do whatever they think is right, but said he was not advocating anything.
When it came to the question of why the State System did not agree with arbitration, Mash said he could not speak on their behalf. As for the Governor, Mash believes that he cares about the students and having quality education.
The discussion also addressed the Chancellor’s reputation as a “Union Buster.” Mash’s only comment was “actions speak for themselves.”
Perhaps one of the biggest questions of students is if they need to attend class if the strike occurs. Mash advised students to follow the advice of their university (check out our article about the email Bloomsburg students received about the possible strike). However, Mash also said to feel free to express your rights.
The discussion ended by saying that the strike is not official yet and to continue to check APSCUF’s website for updates.