The three-day faculty strike is over.
A tentative contract was reached, sending faculty members home from the picket lines, according to an APSCUF press release.
Faculty members are to immediately leave the picket lines, ending the first state system strike. APSCUF members still need to vote on the tentative agreement, and the language needs to be finalized, according to a PASSHE press release.
“Our primary goals were to preserve quality of education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected,” said Kenneth Mash, APSCUF’s president. “We achieved every single one of those goals, and the faculty were willing to take less than every other bargaining unit in order to preserve those goals.”
Mash was in meetings this morning, working to end the strike, said Kim Garris, APSCUF SU’s spokesperson. APSCUF SU’s Chapter President Kara Laskowski said faculty have been very hopeful, but did not know the details of the meetings.
APSCUF made concessions on salary and benefits, the press release said, and got PASSHE to throw out most of the 249 proposals the state system had in previous contract offers.
Both sides thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for his leadership and support in ending the strike and getting a tentative contract.
“We are extremely grateful to Gov. Wolf for his outstanding leadership in helping us achieve a successful resolution to these long and difficult negotiations,” said PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan.” Throughout this process, our students have been remarkably patient, and they should be applauded.”
Thousands of students across PASSHE’s 14 universities were out on picket lines supporting faculty members throughout the strike.
While packing up her picket signs, Shippensburg University English professor Carla Kungl said students had a really big hand in the strike and ending it.
“I think PASSHE underestimated how strongly you guys felt,” Kungl said. “I feel, honestly, like I have never loved students so much.”
SU faculty members embraced each other and cheered when they heard the strike ended.
Brogan said, “Today is an opportunity for a fresh start.”
As the picket lines dissolved into cheering crowds, smiles grew from ear-to-ear and professors embraced.
Their smiles did not go away, but their picket signs, food and canopies did. While some union members stayed on picket lines to talk of their success, others unloaded their supplies in the APSCUF SU off-campus office. Faculty members stacked cases of water and bags of food against the wall, and helped each other unload canopy poles and coolers from their cars.
The faculty immediately thought of the students, and said they would attend today’s volleyball game. Others said they would go to University Grille, which has supported their efforts.
“We stood up for adjuncts, we stood up for education and for our students,” said Kara Laskowski, APSCUF SU’s chapter president. “If that means that we’re going to be paying more for our healthcare — oh well, that’s worth it.”
Laskowski said she expects APCUF members will vote in favor of the new contract.
Shippensburg University is returning to its regular class schedule effective 12 a.m. Saturday.
Mary Grace Keller contributed to this story.
A previous version of this video identified Joseph Terzungwe Zume, associate professor, as Richard Zumkhawala-Cook, English professor.