Faculty members in Pennsylvania’s 14-campus State System of Higher Education have moved closer to an unprecedented strike, voting overwhelmingly to authorize their union to call a walkout over contract talks that have been deadlocked for months, according to the Associated Press.
The 6,000 faculty members and coaches, who are represented by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, have worked without a contract since June 2011. In results announced on Friday, 86 percent of them participated and 95 percent of voters authorized a strike. Such a walkout would require the assent of union representatives from at least 10 of the 14 campuses, and could come at any time. The 120,000-student system has never seen a faculty strike.
A union official, asked by The Patriot-News when a strike might occur, declined to speculate. A spokesman for the system told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette it had no comment on the vote but remained “committed to reaching a fair settlement.”
Contract talks have broken down over the system’s proposed changes in health benefits, pay for temporary instructors, and extra pay for faculty members who create online courses.