Community College of Philadelphia faculty and staff have voted to go on strike after working without a contract for over three years, NBC10 News reported.
91 percent of the 1,200 members of the College’s union, the Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, voted in favor of a strike in February 2019. On March 27, members voted to authorize union leaders to hold a strike within the next few days.
Members of the union have been negotiating for a contract for over three years, and talks with Community College of Philadelphia administrators halted two years ago. In January 2019, College President Donald Generals said the school was considering imposing a contract.
The union made a "pre-strike offer" to the college administration on March 26 to attempt to reach a compromise on issues such as faculty course loads and health insurance benefits. However, Community College of Philadelphia administrators said the offer was too expensive and did not include changes they thought were necessary, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. A college spokesperson told NBC10 that the proposed contract would increase the school's costs by $82.8 million.
Faculty insisted the strike aims to promote quality education.
“We teach 36 students per class,” Yusefa Smith, a full-time faculty member of Foundational Math, told NBC10. “At [Montgomery County Community College] and [Bucks County Community College], it’s 27-28 students per class. Dr. Generals wants us to teach two more classes a year. We will be responsible for educating 80 more students each year than a professor at Montco or Bucks. That’s going to subtract from our students’ education.”
“In the event of a strike, the College administration will work hard to minimize any disruption to students,” the announcement states.
The Community College of Philadelphia cancelled classes for two weeks in March 2007 after the Federation went on strike for better pay. The University agreed to offer annual 3.62 percent raises for five years.
Faculty from 14 Pennsylvania state universities went on statewide strike in October 2016 to demand better compensation and health insurance.
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