Pa. state universities to resume classes Monday as faculty strike ends [updated]

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The union representing faculty members at West Chester University and 13 other universities in Pennsylvania has ended its strike. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The union representing faculty members at West Chester University and 13 other universities in Pennsylvania has ended its strike. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

After a three-day faculty strike at Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities, the state system and its largest union report they have a deal.

The two sides agreed to a tentative contract late Friday. Specific details are scarce.

School system spokesman Kenn Marshall confirmed faculty will get raises, but will also pay higher health care premiums.

He described the new health care plan as “sort of a hybrid” between the plan most school system employees get, and the coverage Pennsylvania state workers receive.

“It’s a very comparable plan to what the rest of our employees have,” he said. “That was important from an equitable standpoint, but it also produced, essentially, the cost savings that we were looking for.”

Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties president Ken Mash said he’s satisfied with the final agreement. But he added that negotiations have damaged relationships between the union and the state system.

“There were a lot of things said, and there were a lot of hard feelings,” he said.

Mash also said the final days of negotiation were tough.

“We were negotiating through the governor’s office, and, frankly, if they didn’t stay involved, I’m not sure when this would have been resolved,” he said. “But we were never with them directly, and it really could have moved along a lot quicker if we were. “

The agreement won’t be made official for at least several weeks. It has to be ratified by union members and the school system’s board of governors.

Nevertheless, both sides confirmed that state system’s 107,000 students will be back in class on Monday after their unexpected break.

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