Relief at no strikes

February 5, 2013

That strikes by union service and maintenance workers at Washington Hospital and faculty at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities both appear to have been avoided should be a source of relief for residents throughout the area.

On Monday, the hospital service workers voted to ratify a three-year pact that was the result of a marathon, 30-hour bargaining session. Even if neither side received everything it wanted, the care of patients at the hospital can proceed without interruption.

The dispute between the union representing faculty on such campuses as California University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been simmering for 18 months and had hinged on issues like health care costs and salaries, as well as classroom sizes. A tentative agreement on a contract was reached Monday, and it will now be going to the faculty union’s legislative assembly, and then on to the rank-and-file membership.

If a labor walkout had occurred, it would, without question, have been extraordinarily disruptive to students who are paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $14,000 per year to receive an education, would have changed or delayed plans and made it harder for the colleges and universities to recruit students the longer a strike went on.

So be glad you will not likely be seeing photos of picketing professors or hospital maintenance personnel on the front page of this newspaper anytime soon.



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