Just when Temple University students thought it was safe to return to classes, the school's faculty union leaders say they may stage a second teacher walkout at the beginning of the spring semester. Temple students and teachers went back to class October 3 after a month-long faculty strike. But Temple faculty union President Arthur Hochner said last week that the union might resume the walkout in January, if no settlement is reached by that time. Teachers walked out after Temple's administration offered them a contract stipulating a five percent pay increase -- 2.5 percent lower than the faculty requested -- and a $260 contribution toward their health insurance. Contract negotiations began Monday for the first time since the injunction was issued. Over two weeks ago, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Samuel Lehrer issued an injunction ordered striking Temple faculty members back to the classroom. He said that the walkout had damaged education for about 29,000 students and also harmed the public. But faculty union leaders say Judge Lehrer's injunction does not rule out a strike next semester. Temple's chief negotiator, C. Robert Harrington, last week sent a letter to Hochner requesting that talk about a second walkout "cease and desist immediately" because it would violate the injunction. The injunction prohibits the teacher's union from encouraging and promoting a strike until a final hearing sometime next year. Temple University Counsel George Moore, who sent a similar letter to the union's attorney, said yesterday that it is clear from the injunction that talk of a walkout is prohibited. Moore said that any faculty strike next semester would be illegal, and that the university would definitely ask the court to find the union in contempt of court if it went on strike. Hochner could not be reached for comment. Four Temple students were arrested Saturday after defying an order to vacate a lounge outside of Temple President Peter Liacouras' office. The Students United for Education camped out for several weeks in the lounge, to protest the strike. And the six graduate students arrested last month for blocking Liacouras' office were found guilty of interrupting the normal use of a facility and made to pay a $10 fine, after a Temple University hearing last week. The Philadelphia Inquirer contributed to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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