Friday, October 21, 2016

Collateral Damage R Us...Update

Well as predicted the Association of PA State Colleges(PSSHE) and University Faculty Union(APSCUF)have gone out on strike.  This is the first time a strike has happened in the 34 year history of the state school system.

This happened Wednesday so we are at Day Three of this "event".

Recent news article on the strike HERE.

Local news report HERE.  (I love the clip in this one from our knucklehead Governor, Tom Wolf, urging the two sides to come to an agreement, when he is the person who held our state budget hostage in 2014-2015 and refused to sign a budget for 2 years.  Hypocrite much?)

The PA teachers and the PA State System of Higher Education(PSSHE)which controls/runs the 14 state supported schools here in PA didn't reach an amicable contract settlement by Tuesday evening's deadline, so the teachers walked.
Including the teachers at College Boy's school.

The PSSHE kept saying they would bring in temporary teachers for the duration of the strike.
I shook my head at this because finding an unemployed teacher in PA who has a PHD in music and is a master flutist who could teach College Boy's master music classes to sub for his professors was just a joke.  Yes, there are lots of people with teaching credentials in PA but not working in this field(due to corruption and nepotism-way more teachers are graduated each year here than their are positions for so they have to leave the state to work as teachers)but the pool that meets this criteria is nil.

We got an actual phone call from College Boy last night.  As he never calls(always messges on FB instead)I knew this was bad news.

The PSSHE and officials at his school are telling students they have to "go to class"(even though the professors are not there and not holding "class").
A check of the school website is saying the school is open for business and operating as usual.

So College Boy's professors are all out on strike and he has no classes into the foreseeable future. There is no word or even a hint on when these two powerful groups will hash out a deal that they both will accept.

Friday to Monday of this weekend is the school's Fall Break(no classes Monday even if there wasn't a strike).  College Boy has never come home for Fall Break as it's only a long weekend.  The last 2 years he has attended school there the dorms have remained open and the dining halls have also remained open.

But not this time.
Supposedly this strike is only between the teacher's union and the PSSHE and doesn't involve an support staff at the school.  Bureaucrats, Clerks, Maintenance, Office workers, Food Service workers, etc. are not affected by this strike.

Even though, the "Powers That Be" at College Boy's school have decided to close the dining halls for 4 days staring today until Tuesday morning.  The dorms will remain open however.
So College Boy informed me that if he remains on campus over Break he can't eat for 4 days.

And he is out of personal money(again this year!)so he can't walk to the local gas station and buy processed crap to eat.  I knew he wasn't saving enough this past Summer and I knew this would happen again.  8-(

Then I saw a note was posted on the school website that all sports teams practices and games will go on as players must remain on campus for that but hey!, let's not feed them for 4 days.
That doesn't seem like a very bright plan now, does it?

Now I am not going to take sides on whether the PSSHE or the APSCUF are the unreasonable pieces of shit in these contract negotiations.  But going over 450 days working without a contract and being in negotiations and still not hammering out an equitable solution isn't fair to the people affecting by the skills your negotiating teams seem to lack.

All I know is that the students and their parents(who are footing the bill for tuition and meal plans)are COLLATERAL DAMAGE in this whole brew-ha-ha.
And I am NOT happy about it!

College Boy said all the students are walking around not knowing what to do as they are getting mixed messages(what little information the school actually sends them and of course we, the parents, have received NO communications on any of this!)on what they are suppose to do.
Many of the kids with cars have already left and gone home to wait this out until the strike is over.
I really feel for the international students as they are in no position to call mom and dad and go home easily(if at all).

So we will be picking College Boy up today to bring him home and see what happens over the weekend with the strike.
He can't remain home long term if the strike continues because he has Wind Ensemble rehearsals Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The band director isn't cancelling rehearsals since they have a concert tour next month and are cutting a CD too and you can't not rehearse for however long and then jump right back into it without it affecting your orchestra.

Later today we'll be contacting our PA State Legislative Representatives and the President of College Boy's school as well to voice our displeasure at the way in which this has been handled and find out what the "PA Political Powers That Be" are planning on doing to resolve this mess.

My plans into the foreseeable future are in limbo until this thing is over.  
And I am NOT a happy camper.

I hope the parents of these 100,000+ affected students who foot the bills at these schools are planning to band together and DEMAND a pro-rated refund of tuition/fees/meals/housing costs we paid for services/goods that won't be delivered during this strike.

I hope it doesn't come down to us all having to get a lawyer and suing the PSSHE and APSCUF leadership chuckle heads for our money back!

As an aside, the school has NOT sent us, the parents, a single piece of communication about this whole strike fiasco.  I am having to hear everything from College Boy(who is mostly in the dark about this)or read it online from various news sources.

So thanks a lot PSSHE, APSCUF and President Hendricks for disrupting our son's education/life!

The local school district's teachers went out on strike in 2007 when all 3 of my kids were still attending schools here(1 middle, 2 high)and that debacle lasted a month+.
I can't even hazard a guess how long this strike will go on for.

President Hendricks on his welcome page statement off the University's website says....

"Here's to building a memorable year for Mountie Nation!"

Yep, 3 months in and it sure it a Memorable Year.....but for all the wrong reasons!



As of about an hour ago the strike had "tentatively" ended.  Now why couldn't they have done this three days ago and avoided all the upheaval to parents and students?  Oh, right power struggles are the reason.
So the news came AFTER Hubs picked up College Boy and headed home with him.  
Of course.....*bangs head on wall*.
Hubs could have just given him cash to eat this weekend and left him there but no, they didn't hear until after they left for home.
So now I get to figure out how to get him back before Tuesday morning as Hubs will be back at work on Monday.  I have a dr. appt. on Monday and after having an HS flare two days ago I don't feel well enough to drive him back right now.  Hopefully by Monday I'll feel better.

It's always something, isn't it!? lolz


  1. Wow what a load of crap! The idea that yes, we are on strike but no, you can't leave and must attend classes that aren't really happening when you are paying for them makes no bloody sense at all! Insert swear "em!" Your son probably banked on being able to eat so spent all his money (yes, all kids are like that....unfortunately!)

  2. "Now I am not going to take sides on whether the PSSHE or the APSCUF are the unreasonable pieces of shit in these contract negotiations." Pieces of shit! Yup.
    This is the craziest thing I have ever heard. I don't know what to say other than get a lawyer and rally the other parents. That might get them to do something quickly.

  3. I don't know where to begin . . so sorry this has happened. : (

  4. I have no facts about the arbitration and mediation (or lack of it) over this issue, but as a collective people we have gotten away from what the concept of mediation is, and the collateral damage seems to be incidental to all parties. I am honestly and sincerely hoping we as a nation can somehow or another get beyond this attitude that for me to win you have to lose and vice versa. It seems to me the only losers here are the folks paying for the privilege of being educated. I would be pissed off as a parent, but I can't imagine how pissed I would be if I were a student paying for this with college loans. How much would a week of non-education cost me in real dollars over the life time of the loan?

  5. I personally do not understand stikes when it isn't aobut health and safety. No one seems to win, and the ones hurt the most are staff already living paycheck to paychek, and collateral victims. Before anyone yells at me about workers rights, I feel I can say this as I am in a union, and have been the spouse and child of parents in unions. I fully support when there seems to be blatant maniupulation on one side or the other, but often the final deals ae so nitpicky, and it isn;t even the workers, but the union heavy's and the so far removed boards doing the nitpicking back and forth-not really the ones impacted. I hope for all your sake, this is reolved quickly, but the dining hall stuff is assinine-required to stay, but no food, and you've paid for the service? Sound like fraud.

  6. I am with Sam on this. I hope you get a refund because d.ang...

  7. This is unbelievable. Shut the school down completely or keep it open. And, to require students to stay, go to class, go to sport practices, but no food that is paid for. What a SNAFU.

  8. If they require the kids to stay is that some legal way for them to say that they had the school operational, therfor no refunds? @@ I'm a unionized public school teacher, that said, it is illegal in my state for public school teachers to strike. Not sure about college level.

  9. I am sure you know by now the strike is over. My son goes to Millersville and the cafeteria is open but all his teachers are walking the picket line. I left a message with Wolf's office telling him how unhappy I am and truly believe teaches should not be able to go on strike. Cheryl

  10. My cousin is a professor at one of the colleges involved. I don't know all the details of why they are on strike, however he just posted that the strike was over, so hopefully everything can go back to normal for the kids. Sorry your son was caught in the middle.

  11. For a moment I thought I had come to another blog by mistake, for I didn't see budget things right away...
    Strikes are complex and upsetting to all.

  12. Westchester was affected too they wanted my daughter to drive an hour each way for the teachers not to show he'll no

  13. I hate Tom wolf I wrote to him about the refugee he said the money doesn't come from us well where the he'll does it come from he's so full of bs

  14. I guess College Boy should consider taking some Easy Mac and instant oatmeal back to stash in his dorm room for these emergencies.
    The students should all show up - as a huge angry mob (after alerting the media) to the College Admin/Bursar and demand credit for what they missed during the time there were no classes/meals.

  15. Ugh, how awful. :( I'm glad the strike is over and hope you can get your son back there easily. I can't believe they think they don't have to feed them for 4 days!!!

  16. Thankfully, the strike is over although the problems are not. This affected too many people to let this die. I hope you get better. Is there not a train or bus he can take? I hope everyone is compensated for loss of educational opportunities. How much of a refund will they give everyone? Will the state compensate for gas/time/losses? I know that last sentence is just a dream.


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