Strike ends as PASSHE and APSCUF reach tentative contract agreement

Published by adviser, Author: Daniel DiFabio - News Editor , Date: October 25, 2016
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Faculty members of the schools in the state system stopped striking on Friday after a tentative contract was reached between APSCUF and PASSHE.

Ben Shaevitz, president of the SRU chapter of APSCUF and physics professor, said members will vote on the contract after about six weeks, once the agreement is put into legally-binding terms. Details of the contract have not yet been released to the public, it has been revealed that the final version is somewhere between the state system’s last offer and the offer APSCUF put on the table.

“It’s a compromise and some people’s issues got left out,” Shaevitz said. “The wage package is reasonable.”

Shaevitz said he believes the contract will pass but it won’t be a unanimous vote.

“We came to an agreement and there was a compromise,” Shaevitz said. “We’re happy there’s an agreement and we’re ecstatic that we’re not on a strike. We’re pleased with the contract but realizing it’s a compromise, not a slam dunk.”

Shaevitz said the contract was a three-year deal and that APSCUF will most likely begin to prepare for bargaining in January, with Shaevitz saying that APSCUF president Kenneth Mash was adamant about breaking the cycle of only getting serious about contracts once the previous one expires.

The contract also featured a provision on making up missed class times, Shaevitz said, with professors having to submit a plan to their respective dean, although not a lot of information has been given on what parameters the make up time would include.

Shaevitz said the strike created a lot of positivity within APSCUF, with some members from different departments becoming friends when picketing together.

“That’s going to pay dividends in the future because the organization is now stronger, it’s more cohesive,” Shaevitz said.

Shaevitz said he was amazed at how well APSCUF members took up leadership responsibilities, saying that he wasn’t micromanaging the effort.

Shaevitz said student support impressed him as well, with students picketing and showing their faculty support at all 14 universities.

“You know that students have relationships with their professors and by virtue of your position you have this interaction, clearly you know there’s mutual respect there,” Shaevitz said. “To see the kindness and the passion and the commitment, students could have been neutral, but they were still showing support and it was moving. Being in the role of a professor is an opportunity to make a difference, it’s a good thing to remember this is not just a job, you’re helping to shape people’s lives and you have the ability to influence.”

APSCUF members are also going to get involved in service projects with students, with Shaevitz sending a letter to all SRU APSCUF members inviting them to participate.

“The solidarity with the students was just amazing and we don’t want that to evaporate,” Shaevitz said.

Shaevitz said that he is meeting with President Cheryl Norton to address some concerns, such as rhetoric used during the strike, and re-establish their working relationship while talking about moving forward.

“We want to acknowledge that [the strike] happened but not dwell on it as an adversarial thing,” Shaevitz said.

A student appreciation rally will be held on Thursday, Nov. 3 in the quad gazebo during common hour for APSCUF members to express their thanks to students. Shaevitz said that students, faculty and administration members are welcome to attend.

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