Breakthrough In Strike By Pennsylvania Professors

A faculty strike called Wednesday at 14 state-owned colleges and universities ended Friday afternoon after faculty and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education reached a tentative contract settlement.

The three-year deal, which ends June 30, 2018, is with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees the state university system.

The APSCUF faculty strike came to an end on Friday after students and faculty picketed across the campuses of the 14 PASSHE schools. They had hoped for news but were prepared to return to the picket line if necessary next week.

Details on the new three-year contract were not released.

"To preserve quality education, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties accepted concessions to salary and benefits in exchange for eliminating most of the 249 changes the State System proposed in June", APSCUF said in a press release. The union stated it had agreed to a salary package "significantly lower than that of other unions".

The union's statement said it compromised on salary and benefits in exchange for getting rid of numerous other changes the state system had wanted to make to contracts. Faculty had previously been working under an expired contract since June 30, 2015, with negotiations having started in late 2014.

Both sides credited Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, with helping them resolve their differences.

In a statement, union president Kenneth M. Mash said the union's primary goals "were to preserve quality education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation, and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected".

The pact would, among other things, provide faculty with pay increases and allow the system "to realize important healthcare cost savings", according to the system's release. A full APSCUF vote must be held for ratification and then to the state system's board of governors for approval. "Vince Hughes, the leadership of all four caucuses, and other members of the legislature", Martin said. "I'll have to go home now."Some students went to their classes with the hope that their teachers opted out of striking.Kyle Kepps, 19, a sophomore, and Michael Rosser, 22, a sophomore, were commiserating in a hallway when their German class was canceled."I really wanted to go to class", said Kepps of Coal Township, Northumberland County". He recalled that students had brought faculty coffee and baked zucchini bread as they picketed at various access points on campus, including at and around Adamson Stadium.

PASSHE had put forward a "last, best offer" Tuesday night that APSCUF rejected, with talks breaking down over issues including health care and other compensation.

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