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State teachers union, universities still sparring

Faculty members could strike by end of October, union warns

Talks Wednesday between the State System of Higher Education and the union for teachers and coaches ended with “anger and no agreement,” the union said.

Faculty negotiators left Wednesday’s session, which market a fourth consecutive day of bargaining, with a timeline in mind for a possible strike should the talks “continue to devolve,” an Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties news release said.

APSCUF said it officially informed State System negotiators and a mediator that unless a contract is reached, faculty members will go on strike by Oct. 30.

APSCUF, which represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the 14 state-owned universities, has asked the state system to enter binding arbitration, in which a three-person panel could conclude the contract dispute.

Faculty and coach contracts expired June 30, 2015, and negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014.

The state, meanwhile, said it has proposed raising faculty pay by nearly 12 percent. It also has proposed eight additional bargaining sessions, including meetings through this weekend, but APSCUF declined to meet again until next month, state officials said in an update. 

System leaders also said they have asked the state Labor Relations Board to initiate fact-finding, and the board could consider the request Friday, system officials added.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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