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Professors Over Profit: Philadelphia JLC Support Pennsylvania’s Faculty

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October 20, 2016: Philadelphia, PA - For the first time in 34 years, thousands of faculty from state universities across Pennsylvania went on strike. Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee Regional Director Michael Hersch and PJLC board members Ben Waxman and Sylvia and Norman Lieberman joined academics from Westchester and Cheyney universities on the picket line at 8th and Market in Philadelphia. On October 27th, an agreement has been reached between the state's public higher education system and APSCUF, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union.

The strike began after multiple failed negotiations for a new contract between Pennsylvania’s state education system and APSCUF The system’s proposed contract consisted of faculty raises of 7.25 percent to 17.25 percent over four years, as well as an additional cash payment of $1000 by January 2017. However, health-care costs, including deductibles and coinsurance would be raised, and there would be higher co-payments on prescriptions. The union argued that the raises would not match the raise in health care expenses.

Over 100,000 thousand students were affected by the strike. Although the system had told students to attend classes as their professor might cross the picket line to teach, most classrooms remained empty until a fair agreement had been reached.