As a result of disagreements in contract negotiations, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union, announced their strike at Mansfield and 13 other state-owned universities.
Professors, faculty and even students, have been stationed at the university’s main entrance, holding signs and protesting.
“Last night, PASSHE put what they called their ‘last, best offer’ on the table and walked out of the negotiations,” Associate Professor in the Department of Communications, Dr. Chuck Ertel-Hoy said. “So, as a result, the strike was called and implemented this morning.”
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has been in contract negotiations with its faculty since June of 2015. However, both the faculty and Mansfield University officials remain optimistic that the strike will end soon.
“This is going to end at some point and these people are our colleagues and our friends,” Media and Public Relations Coordinator at Mansfield University, Terry Day said. “And, we want to get through this as relatively unscathed as possible and get back to normal as soon as we can for our students.”
At the forefront of these contract negotiations resides health care and financial considerations. One issue, deals with compensation for increased workloads.
“Most of them teach four courses a semester,” Ertel-Hoy said. “They wanted to add a course in there and have them teach five per semester with no increase in salary.”
Despite the negative emotions a strike produces, Mansfield University wants the best for their teachers and for them to return to the classroom.
“At the end, we are kind of in the middle,” Day said. “The decisions are being made in Harrisburg. The negotiations are being done there. It’s between the Union and the State System and the Board of Governors. But, again, the bottom-line, the goal for us here at Mansfield is to come through this relatively unscathed, as much as possible, and to come back together and do what we do well, which is educate our students.”