Professors strike at 14 Pennsylvania state universities


WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Professors at 14 Pennsylvania state universities went on strike today, disrupting classes midsemester for more than 100,000 students after contract negotiations hit an impasse.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties announced its members went on strike at 5 a.m. because no agreement was reached with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The union represents more than 5,000 faculty and coaches across the state.

This is the first strike in the system's 34-year history. State-related schools – Penn State, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University – are not affected.

The state said despite the strike, students should report to their scheduled classes, unless the university indicates otherwise.

"We are headed to the picket lines, but even on the picket lines, our phones will be on, should the State System decide it doesn't want to abandon its students," union president Kenneth Mash said in a statement.

The union includes faculty from Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities.

Coaches, however, haven't set a strike date. They can choose to strike with faculty, strike independently or not at all.

The Pennsylvania state system is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. State funding for the system, at $444 million this year, is about the same as it was 17 years ago, even as full-time enrollment has risen more than 10 percent.

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