The Student Government Association (SGA) rallied in the quad Tuesday afternoon in order to spread awareness of APSCUF’s upcoming strike authorization vote.
Immediate past president of the SRU chapter of APSCUF, Dr. Jace Condravy explained that a strike authorization serves as a warning to PASSHE that APSCUF is willing to go on strike if necessary. The strike authorization is voted on by the leaders of that 14 campuses the comprise APSCUF.
If this authorization is passed, it will take a supermajority, or 10, of the 14 APSCUF presidents to agree to go on strike. It also takes 10 of the APSCUF presidents to agree to a contract.
Condravy explained that passing a strike authorization is common. She believes it has happened the last three or four contract negotiations, over the last dozen years. Although strike authorizations are frequent, Condravy still believes that they are important.
“I don’t believe that we do it lightly, Condravy explained. In other words, I don’t believe that we’re just going through the motions. I believe that most facility take the strike authorization vote very seriously and believe that it carries weight and meaning.”
Condravy stated that the main reason whey negotiations are taking so long is APSCUF believes that the contract offers given so far have been unfair, and would lower the quality of education in the university.
“I worry a lot about the future of the state system universities,” Conravy explained. “When I look at the proposals that are out on the table, to me they seem as if they’re not interested in celebrating and promoting the wonderful system that we have. They seem intent on arranging it in such a way as to reduce its effectiveness or to reduce its quality. I just don’t understand why neither the legislature nor the state system itself supports its own universities. I know they claim to, but when I look at the proposals, I don’t see the behavior behind their words.”
Although a lot of students have been actively attending the rallies, Condravy believes that it will take direct contact with PASSHE in order to actually make a difference. She believes that it is essential for students and parents to email Chancellor John Cavanaugh in order to ask for a quick resolution.
“The state system has just put a lot of concessionary proposals on the table and we’re saying that we simply will not agree to them,” Condravy stated. “None of the other major unions that have settled their contracts have had to agree to such concessionary proposals. We believe that isn’t any reason that we should.”
Students shouldn’t worry about a strike until a strike authorization vote is passed, Condravy said. The possibility of strike doesn’t exist until the authorization is passed. She stated that just because an authorization may be passed, doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be a strike.
“The last time around, we actually had announced very early that if we didn’t have a contract by June 30th, we’re out on strike so everybody knew,” Condravy said. “It was over the summer, so student’s didn’t have very much to worry about unless they were taking summer classes.”
SGA president David Wolfe spoke at the rally in order to state that students need to contact both APSCUF and PASSHE to ask for an agreement.
“The message that we are asking is that as students, we do not pick a side,” Wolfe said. “We need to ask both sides to come to a speedy resolution that helps us as students. A strike would be detrimental not only to Slippery Rock University, but to the entire state school system.”