Shortly after 4 p.m. today, it was announced on the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) Facebook page that the three-day strike is over.
According to a press release from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), they have reached a tentative agreement with APSCUF on a new contract. The press release stated that the new contract would run through June 30, 2018.
If the contract is ratified, it will be brought to the State System’s Board of Governors for approval. The press release also said that “the agreement would provide faculty with pay increases and would allow the State System to realize important healthcare cost savings.”
Meanwhile, a press release from APSCUF announced that they “accepted concessions to salary and benefits in exchange for eliminating most of the 249 changes the State System proposed in June. Also for the sake of students, APSCUF agreed to a salary package that was significantly lower than that of the other unions.”
Faculty at West Chester University, as well as faculty from the other 13 universities a part of PASSHE, began picketing on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 5 a.m. after the union and PASSHE failed to negotiate a contract by APSCUF’s 4:59 a.m. deadline.
Dr. Lisa Ruchti, a women’s and gender studies professor, was pleased to learn that APSCUF and PASSHE had reached a deal.
“For the students and thanks to the students, we did it!” said Ruchti.
Student Rachael Wonderlich, who actively participated with professors on the picket line, also expressed her joy over the strike ending.
“Thanks to the overwhelming support of APSCUF all over the state from students, parents, alumni, other unions, and community members, massive pressure was put on PASSHE to negotiate a contract quickly,” said Wonderlich. “Here at WCU the students and professors have an even stronger bond after days on the line together. I am so proud to be a [R]am and amazed at the strength and support our community showed.”
Student Sabina Sister helped organize much of the student-led activity on campus over the past few days and was happy for APSCUF.
“I am so happy that we as students were able to pull together as one and show the bureaucratic machine that we will weather any storm together,” said Sister.
This was the first strike in APSCUF’s 34-year history. Faculty had previously been working under an expired contract since June 30, 2015, with negotiations having started in late 2014.
Casey Tobias is a third-year student majoring in women’s and gender studies and communication studies. She can be reached at CT822683@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @Casey__Tobias.