At 5 a.m. Wednesday, members of the union representing faculty from 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education began a strike at the borders of their respective campuses.
The strike was organized in response to union members still working under an expired contract, PennLive.com reported, based on disagreements over working conditions related to temporary faculty, distance education, faculty transfers, healthcare plans, funding for faculty research and professional development. Administrators from PASSHE shot down the proposed contract Tuesday night, prompting the beginning of the strike.
Temple is not one of these 14 universities, as it is a state-related school, along with Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Lincoln University. University spokesman Brandon Lausch told The Temple News that the strike will not affect classes at Temple, but that students at the affected universities are dealing with some classes being canceled.
“Temple is one of the four state-related universities,” Lausch said, meaning that the university does not rely solely on state funding for operation. “As such, we are not affected by the current strike.”
Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement on the strike last night, however, mentioning a past faculty strike at Temple.
“We have to look no further than what happened to Temple University following the faculty strike in 1990,” he wrote in the statement. “It took years for Temple to recover its student population. We all agree that the higher education of our students is a top priority, and tomorrow students should show up to class and professors should show up to teach them.”
PASSHE is made up of Bloomsburg University, California University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney University, Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, Millersville University, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University and West Chester University.
Faculty union members plan to strike until the union is approached to open the contract for negotiations again.
This post has been updated.
Paige Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @By_paigegross.