Whether you were ready or not, it’s finally happened. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and Universities Facilities (APSCUF) have failed to come to terms on a contract agreement, resulting in faculty members from 14 different state universities to strike until a fair contract has been offered by the state to the union.
Around 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, APSCUF announced via social media that PASSHE had given a final offer and left the negotiating table. APSCUF reported that this final offer was given, and even entertained followers on Twitter with some tantalizing updates on the situation. They shared their frustration and updated followers on an hourly basis that they remained at the negotiating table until their 5 a.m. deadline Wednesday morning deadline.
Throughout the past week, PASSHE released numerous statements instructing students who are enrolled in universities within the state system that they should report to classes as scheduled in the event of an apparent strike, regardless of whether the regular faculty member that instructs the class is present for the class period.
However, Wednesday evening, no more than 12 hours after the beginning of the strike, SRU Communication sent out an email to all of its students instructing them to check their student portals on mySRU to review their class schedules and check the status of their classes.
The email indicated that classes marked as “temporarilly suspended” would not be in session.
One question raised is just how serious are the negotiations between the state and the union not progressing.
Certainly, the impasse seems to have created quite the impact if Slippery Rock all of a sudden decided it would no longer go with its substitute teacher strategy, leading the institution to suspend all classes with striking faculty members to suspend temporarily.
Despite the sudden suspension of classes, some professors have decided not to strike and will continue to teach during their scheduled teaching periods. Most of the professors who have crossed the picket line are adjunct professors who are recently employed by the university that have not been tenured and simply cannot afford losing days of work and pay.
Also, the Slippery Rock Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) will meet during all class periods scheduled because ROTC is not affiliated with APSCUF, but is a program run by the United States Army.
At this time, students have no choice but to sit and wait while the negotations continue. If a student’s class hasn’t been suspended by the university, that student should attend that class. In the meantime, keep up with classwork, assignments and other materials, because as soon as the strike has concluded, it’s back to business as usual.