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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Faculty at 14 Pennsylvania state universities went on strike Wednesday morning, affecting more than 100,000 students, after contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the faculty union hit an impasse.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties announced on its website that its members went on strike at 5 a.m. because no agreement could be reached. The union represents more than 5,000 faculty and coaches across the state, and a walkout was expected to halt classes midsemester.

“We are headed to the picket lines, but even on the picket lines, our phones will be on, should the State System decide it doesn’t want to abandon its students,” APSCUF President Kenneth M. Mash said in a statement.

The state said despite the strike, students should still report to their scheduled classes, unless the university indicates otherwise. The union said late Tuesday night that the state had presented it its last, best offer and was done negotiating. State System spokesman Kenn Marshall couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday morning after the strike was announced. The state hadn’t posted an updated statement about the strike on its website or Facebook page. This is the first strike in the system’s 34-year history.

The union includes faculty from Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania. State-related schools, Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln, are not affected. The last faculty contract expired June 30, 2015.


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