After waiting over two years for new contract negotiations, Edinboro University members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) union went on strike on Oct. 19, and picketed for three days. This strike was the first in the 34-year history of the association, coming 477 days without a contract.
During those three days, students did not have class and professors, faculty and students alike picketed for fair contracts.
If the faculty had stayed on strike for a certain amount of time, the semester would not have counted for Edinboro students.
“I was really worried about the strike. I didn’t want my semester to not count if they were to be on strike for a long time,” Lindsey Hein, junior Early Childhood and Special Education major at Edinboro, said. “During the strike, I continued to go to my field site every day and work on my lessons. I’m glad the strike is over and only lasted a few days.”
By the end of the strike, negotiations were made and classes resumed on Oct. 24.
“I think the strike was necessary in the end to get their contracts figured out after not having one for so long,” Cory Wurst, a senior Education major at Edinboro, said. “While they were on strike, I volunteered my time to go picket with my professors to show that I supported them and their decision to strike. They loved the support from students and they do deserve the best.”
The professors were not only on strike to better themselves, but to ensure the proper education for their students. One sign on the picket line read, “Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was angry at the situation, calling out the two sides on Oct. 19 for not reaching an agreement, saying the strike was “detrimental to the system and will have far-reaching effects.”
“Everyone’s top priority should be the students and their families who are counting on an agreement to ensure Pennsylvania continues to deliver on its promise to provide a world-class college education,” Wolf said in a statement about the strike.
The coaches at other schools are also striking, along with the rest of the faculty. If this were to continue, the sports teams in our division could be affected, in turn affecting the sports seasons at Mercyhurst.
In the past, strikes at state schools have led to lower enrollment in those schools in the year or two following, causing a rise in enrollment at private schools. If this were to happen, it could potentially add even more students to growing incoming classes at Mercyhurst. This year is the largest class at Mercyhurst, and next year is projected to be the same size, if not larger.