Spring semester classes begin at IUP and the thirteen other state-owned universities today, and if all goes according to plan, commencement is set for May 18th. But the semester begins under a cloud of uncertainty over whether or not the faculty will call a strike at some point.
The State System and APSCUF are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on Friday. The last negotiating session on January 16th ended with the State System team promising to return with a new comprehensive contract offer when the two sides next meet.
While that sounds a hopeful note, there are still some deeply divisive issues, the most difficult of which appears to be healthcare coverage for both current and retired faculty. . At last week’s quarterly meeting, Board of Governors Chairman Guido Pichini reiterated the State System’s stance on the remaining issues and didn’t indicate a willingness to back away, while about 500 APSCUF members rallied outside, with union vice president Ken Mash telling picketing members that they weren’t going to accept the state’s – to use his words - “crappy offer”.