APSCUF announced on Wednesday during a negotiation session with PASSHE that if no contract is reached, the group will go on strike by Oct. 30.
This announcement came after five days of negotiations between the two groups and after both groups requested other solutions to end the negotiation process.
APSCUF President Kenneth M. Mash said in a press release that this is not a specific strike date, but information that was shared to help the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board with fact-finding.
Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the state system, said that the PASSHE negotiators requested fact-finding through the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, which will be considered on Friday. This would use a neutral third party to review both parties’ proposals and then make recommendations to bring the negotiation to a settlement. According to a PASSHE press release, fact-finding is a 40-day process and during that time a strike could not occur.
During the negotiation, APSCUF asked PASSHE for binding arbitration, in which a three-person panel made up of one person chosen by each group and then a third chosen by both would conclude the negotiations.
“We have never agreed in the past to binding arbitration,” Marshall said. “That would be asking the board of governors to give up their responsibilities.”
Negotiations have been put on hold as APSCUF members go on a legislative assembly in Harrisburg for two days. The assembly would consist of APSCUF leaders and delegates.
Colleen Cooke, vice president of the SRU chapter of APSCUF and recreational therapy professor, said the assembly was scheduled a year in advance and that APSCUF offered more negotiation days but there has been no response from PASSHE.
“We had this planned and right away we offered them additional negotiation dates,” Cooke said.
Marshall said PASSHE asked for more negotiation days and that APSCUF has given the date of Oct. 8 for the negotiation process to continue.
APSCUF members will participate in a strike training workshop this weekend after the legislative assembly concludes.
Cooke encouraged students to go to the APSCUF website for additional information and news releases and to contact APSCUF faculty if they have any questions. Marshall said that the state system will continue to send messages to students to keep them updated.
A live stream was also announced in an APSCUF press release, during which President Kenneth M. Mash will answer questions from reporters. The live stream will start at 10:30 a.m. on Friday Sept. 23 and can be viewed on APSCUF’s Facebook page.