Pennsylvania state universities strike over wages, benefits

An association representing faculty at 14 state universities in Pennsylvania said its members are on strike following heated negotiations over wages and benefits.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties announced the strike early Wednesday, according to spokeswoman Kathryn Morton.

The strike could leave more than 100,000 students out of class, said Dr. Kenneth Mash, president of the association, which represents 5,500 faculty members.

Association officials have been negotiating with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for over a year. The State System handed over its final offer Tuesday night and stepped away from the table, Mash said.

Both parties negotiated at the table until about 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, when the State System walked away and has not returned since, according to Mash.

“At 11:35 p.m., we made a last attempt to negotiate through back channels,” Mash said.

“We waited until 5 a.m. 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.”

Attempts to reach the State System for comment early Wednesday were unsuccessful.