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After Chancellor Proposes 35 Percent Cut For PTers and 4 Percent Bump For FTers—4,265 Union Members Vote to Strike

by Bill Schackner

The longest faculty labor dispute in the history of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities inched closer to a showdown as union professors voted overwhelmingly to give their negotiators authority to call a strike. Affirmative votes were cast by 95 percent of those taking part in the election, which included more than 86 percent of the roughly 5,000 faculty belonging to the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, union leaders said.

A total of 4,511 ballots were cast, of which 4,265 voted yes and 246 voted no.

The tally came from three days of balloting at schools belonging to the State System of Higher Education, among them California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania.

The faculty’s previous contract expired June 30, 2011, and talks have stretched over two years.

There has never been a strike in the State System’s three-decade history and the last authorization vote took place in 2007. After Friday’s announcement, union president Steve Hicks reiterated in a statement that a walkout would be a last resort but also said the margin reflected the bargaining unit’s resolve.

“The overwhelming support for our negotiations committee and our negotiations team sends a strong

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