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State university faculty may strike

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Oct 18 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 19 2012 05:25:02 AM CDT

A strike could be looming at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities.

KUTZTOWN, Pa. -

A strike could be looming at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities. And Thursday professors at Kutztown University met with their union president to find out where they stand in contract negotiations.

At Kutztown University students said they are working hard this semester and they don't want to think about how that could be interrupted if their professors decide to strike.

"It makes me nervous because I don't want to lose that time cause I'm paying a lot of money for it and I'm sure I'm not going to get reimbursed either," said Molly Miklos, a senior.

"I hope they do stay here because I've been learning a lot," said Louis Valenzuela, a junior, "They've been really helpful."

The faculty's union president said his members are thinking about students' education.

"I think that is a major concern and we won't make a decision to do that lightly," said Steve Hicks, president of the the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

Hicks was at KU Thursday afternoon to have a meeting with his members about a possible strike and negotiations on their contract.

"We've been negotiating constantly for 22 months," said Hicks.

Hicks said the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has refused this week to go into binding arbitration. The chancellor said they are committed to collective bargaining. But Hicks said the chancellor is forcing their hand.

"They're not leaving us a whole lot of options," said Hicks.

After the KU meeting Hicks said professors were concerned about striking and asked questions about losing their jobs.

On Saturday union members from the 14 universities will meet in State College to determine if they will have a strike authorization vote.

"I just know I really love my professors here," said Miklos, "It just makes me really sad for them that they are being treated like that."

A KU spokesperson said the university has a strike contingency plan if necessary.