This excerpt was cross posted from the Raging Chicken Press To read the full article, please click on the link. Alyssa Röhricht examines some Pennsylvania labor history regarding the Temple Professors Union Strike and the injunction to stop the strike. She also explores the possibility of the "Temple Injunction" being used on APSCUF Professors - if they were to strike.
There is more after the fold.
...Following the approval of a strike authorization vote by APSCUF members at the 14 campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), many are reflecting on the last major strike by university faculty in Pennsylvania at Temple University in 1990.
That strike, which began on September 4th, 1990 at the start of the fall semester and lasted 29 days, concerned pay, benefits, and pensions for the university faculty and marked a defining moment in Temple history, as well as for Pennsylvania’s higher education systems.
The Temple strike was notable for many reasons, including its student support for the Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP). Many of the students staged sit-ins and demonstrations and sported T-shirts with the slogan, “Peter, Peter, tuition eater” directed at then-President Peter Liacouras, who refused to budge on the contract negotiations with the university faculty.
What it is most remembered for, however, is the court injunction that forced faculty back to work. According to Art Hochner, president of Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP), it took Temple over three weeks to file the motion in court after the strike began. The Common Peas judge imposed the injunction, which was upheld by the Commonwealth Court and the Supreme Court. The injunction, part of the Public Employees Relations Act, states that if a strike by public employees occurs and where all collective bargaining processes have been exhausted, if that strike creates a “clear and present danger or threat to the health, safety or welfare of the public,” then in such cases the public employer can initiate an action seeking an injunction with the court of common pleas. Such an injunction is supposed to have a high bar, leaving many to question whether it should have been used in this situation. Hochner said that the judges, “Seemed not to understand that college is not mandatory, as basic education is, and that college students…are not children who need care…We struck on the first day of the semester, right after Labor Day that year, so students were not captives and could drop out.” And in fact, many students did drop out – about 3,500 of them.
Following the injunction, Temple faculty returned to work but continued with contract negotiations until late January of the following year. Susan Wells, a Professor of English at Temple, said that the negotiations were bitter. “The English department was very active, almost entirely members of the union. We met as a department every week and discussed what to do…We collected money and gave it out to people who were really hit hard financially by the strike...."