By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Leaders of the union representing faculty at West Chester, Cheyney and twelve other state-owned universities will meet tomorrow to take an initial strike authorization vote.

Faculty Union spokeswoman Lauren Gutshall says the Saturday vote by union leaders would be just the first step toward a strike by faculty at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities.

“It does not mean that faculty are going on strike next week, or even the week after. This is just the initial steps in the process to authorize our leadership to call a strike if they feel it’s necessary.”

After 15 months without a contract, and with the state system now having rejected binding arbitration, Gutshall says union leaders have decided to take a strike authorization vote, which would in turn trigger votes by all members on the system’s 14 campuses. That, too, would simply authorize leadership to call a strike if deemed necessary.