October 21, 2016 / 10:20 PM / 3 years ago

Pennsylvania college faculty ends strike after tentative deal

(Reuters) - A union representing public college faculty in Pennsylvania ended a three-day strike on Friday after reaching a tentative deal with the state on pay, benefits and working conditions.

West Chester University employees from the union representing 5,500 Pennsylvania university and college employees strike after failing to reach a contract deal with the state education system in West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Makela/File Photo

Some 5,500 professors and other workers launched the work stoppage before dawn on Wednesday, saying contract talks had reached an impasse after two years.

The new agreement, which ends on June 30, 2018, was announced separately by the State System of Higher Education and by the union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

The strike by full-time and part-time faculty affected about 100,000 students at 14 schools, from West Chester University near Philadelphia to California University outside Pittsburgh.

Students were told, though, to report to their regularly scheduled classes during the strike, because individual faculty members could decide for themselves whether to participate.

As part of the deal, the union said it accepted a smaller pay increase than it had sought, in exchange for the state dropping most of 249 proposed contract changes it put forward this year.

“Our primary goals were to preserve quality education for our students, protect our adjuncts from exploitation, and make sure the varieties of faculty work are respected,” the union’s president, Kenneth Mash, said in a statement.

Union members and the state system’s board of governors still must approve the agreement.

The state said faculty would receive pay increases while allowing the state “to realize important healthcare cost savings.” Details would be released upon final approval, the state said.

“Throughout this process, our students have been remarkably patient, and they should be applauded,” State System Chancellor Frank Brogan said in a statement.

Both sides credited Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, with helping them resolve their differences.

Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by David Gregorio

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