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Lock Haven University Workers To Protest Job Outsourcing Saturday

A student walks on the Lock Haven University campus in Lock Haven, Pa, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.
Gene J. Puskar
AP Photo
A student walks on the Lock Haven University campus in Lock Haven, Pa, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.

Members of a Lock Haven University labor union will host a protest Saturday over plans from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, or PASSHE, to outsource more than 50 jobs. The cuts would be to clerical, custodial and maintenance workers. 


Shawn O’Dell is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) labor union at Lock Haven University. She said the outsourcing would mean the loss of dedicated workers doing “family-sustaining jobs” that feed into the local economy.


“They don’t simply just clean and shovel snow and mow the grass. They’re people the students see every day and can recognize and can build a relationship with,” O’Dell said. “An outsourced company is not going to have that kind of connection.”


PASSHE schools have seen shrinking enrollments and declining revenue in recent years. 


Lock Haven University is one of the state schools targeted for restructuring to save the cash-strapped system $100 million. The plan would combine administration, academics, faculty and staff at Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield Universities, and at three other universities. Faculty positions at Lock Haven University would also be cut – by about 30%. 


President Robert Pignatello left the university in February to take a job with PASSHE as senior advisor to the chancellor for university integration strategy, where his job is to help merge the PASSHE schools.

The protest will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. in Lock Haven’s Triangle Park.   

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.
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