University, faculty union talks progress but both sides prepare for strike
Negotiators for the 14 state-owned universities and their faculties said they continue to make progress in union contract talks but are preparing for a strike just in case.
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education said the universities, which include Indiana, California and Slippery Rock in Western Pennsylvania, would remain open “to the extent possible” if the Association of State College and University Faculties calls for a walkout.
Union spokeswoman Lauren Gutshall said the union, whose members have worked for 18 months without a contract, has considered strategies for the “optimal date” for a work stoppage: Jan. 28, the start of the spring semester, or Feb. 5, the date of the governor's budget address.
The union hasn't taken a vote, she said.
“We are still trying to negotiate a fair contract,” Gutshall said.
Negotiators are scheduled to meet Friday and on Jan. 16.
About 114,700 students are enrolled in the universities. The union represents more 5,000 faculty members.
State system spokesman Kenn Marshall said Indiana, California and Slippery Rock universities and the others formed strike contingency plans. He did not elaborate on what those plans involve.
Union officials said “some important progress” occurred during talks last week but significant differences remain over health care, retiree health benefits and distance education.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LCB’s biggest store opening in Shadyside neighborhood
- Pennsylvania’s public school staffing at 10-year low
- Food fundraisers have to be healthy — it’s the law
- Pennsylvania governor hopefuls target middle class with tax policy ads
- Pa. bridges, roads pay homage to famous, fallen
- Departing prosecutor in Pennsylvania Turnpike pay-to-play case does not blame lack of resources
- Pennsylvania Department of Health will note fracking complaints