First Pa. university faculty strike ever draws closer

Pa. university faculty give union OK for first-ever strike

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Union faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities have given their leadership the authority to call a strike.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties announced results of a vote Friday. Members had cast ballots earlier this week at 14 campuses across the state, including Kutztown University in Berks County, West Chester University in Chester County and East Stroudsburg University in Monroe County.

Eighty-six percent of the faculty at Kutztown voted this week, said Dr. Paul Quinn, the university's APSCUF president, adding that 95 percent of those who cast ballots voted to authorize a strike.

The vote empowers union chapter presidents at each school to call a strike. Ten of the 14 must approve a walkout. They were scheduled to hold a conference call late Friday afternoon.

Faculty and coaches have been working without a contract since June 2011. Talks have stalled over issues including compensation for temporary instructors, health care benefits and online education.

There has never been a faculty strike in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Another negotiating session is set for Dec. 11. Meanwhile, classes will continue for the system's 120,000 students.

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