Millersville University and other state university students shouldn't expect days off if faculty at the 14 state universities vote to strike this week.
Millersville spokeswoman Janet Kacskos said contingency plans are already under consideration should faculty members go on strike, such as getting teachers who aren't in the union to fill in.
But Kacskos pointed out that a vote to strike - the union is set to finish voting Wednesday - doesn't mean an immediate strike will happen. The vote only means the union would be authorized by its membership to strike should negotiations continue to stall.
Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties have been working without a contract since June 2011. State officials seek cost savings for the system, which suffered a 19 percent budget cut in 2011-12.
The two sides disagree on issues including compensation for temporary instructors, health care benefits and incentive pay for online education. Faculty from at least 10 of the 14 universities would need to agree to strike in order to authorize it.
State university system spokesman Kenn Marshall said contingency plans are in place throughout the system, although the universities have never had to deal with a strike before.
Peter Gigliotti, spokesman at Shippensburg University, said their plans will shift based on how the strike plays out.
"We do have plans in the event of a strike and those plans are contingent on the circumstances at the time. If a strike should occur, we will provide information through various methods including e-mail, our website, our Facebook page and our Twitter account."
During bargaining in Harrisburg last Friday, state negotiators withdrew a proposal for a 35 percent salary cut for temporary, or adjunct, faculty, and the proposal now includes retirement healthcare benefits for same-sex domestic partners. State negotiators are now seeking no change in full-time adjunct salaries while freezing the pay of part-time temporary faculty for the life of the contract.
The union's lead negotiator has said the state's proposal is "overwhelmingly concessionary." There are plans to present the union's next proposal to the state Dec. 11, according to their website.
Kacskos said some full-time or adjunct faculty members in the union may decide to teach their classes despite a strike. It's impossible to know how many classes would be affected until a strike occurs, she says, but she said Millersville doesn't anticipate needing to cancel classes. Avoiding cancellations is important to keep students on track to graduate on time, she said.
"We'll have every effort in place so that classes will go on," Kacskos said.