EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's state-funded universities were almost brought to a standstill Wednesday as teachers walked off the job.
Contract negotiations hit a road block Tuesday night and the strike began at 5 a.m. Wednesday.
At East Stroudsburg University in Monroe County, about 120 faculty members picketed in front of the entrance to the college. They said they're disappointed it had to come to this, but they said a strike is necessary for colleagues who aren't getting fair pay.
"The faculty out here today care about the students first. We also care about our most junior faculty... the lowest on the pay scale," said Nancy VanArsdale, an English professor and president of ESU's chaper of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the faculty union.
"Adjuncts are not people who have any job security. They are not tenured. Nothing is guaranteed for them except to they will be at the bottom of the pay scale," said Allan Benn, an ESU professor.
Both the union and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) blame the other for failed negotiations.
A PASSHE spokesman said there is disappointment that the faculty decided to strike, and the state system wants to settle the differences for the sake of the students.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement saying he is frustrated the failed agreements are affecting students.
"I urge both sides to return to the table immediately and continue negotiations until an agreement is reached," Wolf said.
Faculty members said they plan to strike on Thursday unless an agreement is reached Wednesday night.
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