Teachers, coaches at Pa.-owned universities move closer to strike

    Faculty and coaches at the 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania — including Indiana, Bloomsburg, and West Chester — have taken another step toward a strike.

    If the union should actually walk off the job, students shouldn’t assume they can sleep through their morning classes.

    Even if a strike is called, universities aren’t planning to cancel the semester, said Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

    “Individual faculty members would make the decision whether to continue teaching or not,” Marshall said. “That would be an individual choice so what we would tell students is they should show up for class.”

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    But a spokeswoman for the union representing faculty and coaches says she doesn’t expect any members would cross the picket line.

    Of course, the picket line is still purely hypothetical — a point emphasized by the state system.

    Strikes have been authorized in the past three contract negotiations with faculty, dating back to 1999 — and never have the professors and coaches actually gone on strike.

    This time around, the union has been at odds with the state system over things such as health-care benefits and compensation for online classes.

    The next rounds of contract negotiations are slated for Dec. 11 and 19.

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