Faculty at the 14 state-owned universities have been working without a contract since June 2011. Last month, the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education formally declined the offer of binding arbitration.
As a student at Clarion University, I certainly do not want my teachers to go on strike. A faculty strike will cause a disruption in the graduation ceremony, and the rest of us will not get the credits we need to graduate. It also will make affording school much harder.
If the chancellor and the board do not come up with a contract for the faculty, there will be many problems, such as dropping part-time teachers' pay by 35 percent. If that happens, many of those teachers will have to find new jobs. It also will cause problems with health care for the active members and retirees of the universities.
The faculty of the state universities only want a fair contract like members of the other union groups. I am very concerned for the future of my education. My future and the futures of many others depend on the fairness of the PASSHE chancellor.
It is imperative that our president as well as members of Congress bury their egos and start to work in a bipartisan manner. We can move mountains if we work together.
The leaders of both parties should keep the following thought in mind for the next four years: It's amazing what can be accomplished when we don't care who gets the credit.
We need to get back to compromising in order to move forward. Even a mighty oak tree bends in the wind. This country cannot afford another four years of infantile partisan politics literally holding us hostage.
John Mihalchik Sr.
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