PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s an uncertain future for professors and students at the Community College of Philadelphia. A teachers’ strike could be happening in a little more than a week after students return from spring break.
Union representatives say the possible strike would be about the workload and wages while students are concerned about the possibility of not graduating on time.
“Frustrated, very frustrated about it,” said one student.
Students received papers from their professors and faculty after class about a possible teachers’ strike.
The strike could begin after the school returns from spring break, prompting canceled classes.
It’s a concern for Sharon Shantz, who is in her final year.
“I don’t think that it’s fair to students like myself, who are getting ready to graduate, and if the strike happens, there’s a possibility where we have to make up for that time that the teachers are out,” Shantz said.
The American Federation of Teachers Local 2026 has been in contract negotiations with the school’s Board of Governors for three years.
The last time an offer was changed by the school was last May.
The union is now holding a strike authorization vote from Tuesday to Monday. It’s a move that union co-president Junior Brainard says is necessary.
“Right now, we are prepared to strike because we are fighting for contracts that are really gonna help support our students here,” Brainard said. “We’re fighting for reasonable workloads, we’re fighting for a college that does not have a reduced faculty.”
Earning low wages is something some employees can relate to.
“I’ve been here 18 years and I don’t make $14 an hour,” one teacher said. “I have to work three jobs, I do a whole lot to make ends meet.”
As for worried students, the community college’s president offers these words.
“I say to them, first of all, that we’re doing all we can to try to settle this, we will ensure that their education will be complete this semester, as well as for those who are graduating and beyond,” Dr. Donald Guy said.
The school says the last teachers’ strike was in 2007.
Union members have until Monday at 7 p.m. to vote whether or not to have this strike.