Duquesne University Police Department strikes after nearly 8 months of negotiations

PITTSBURGH — A siren blared at 7 a.m. sharp Monday, right outside of the Duquesne University Police Department.

That’s when 28 police officers and security guards officially walked off the job and onto the picket line.

They say they’ll be visible on campus as long as the strike goes on.

On Sunday night, negotiations between Duquesne University and the Teamsters Union Local 249, which represents the officers and guards, failed without a new contract.

They’ve been working without a contract since October, and have had 19 meetings in the last eight months, but no progress has been made.

The union claims the university has not negotiated in good faith.

While wages are on the table, the union says it goes beyond that.

“They want to take away our retirement. They won’t take concessions in this day and age. They also want to take our healthcare away, so wages are not the sticking point, wages are part,” said Keith Frank, union vice president.

Duquesne University released a statement in response to the negotiations at around 11 p.m. Sunday night.

“Duquesne University has participated in good faith contract negotiations with the union representing our police officers and security guards since August 2022. We have appreciated their willingness to talk through offers and scenarios during that time. In addition to several tentative agreements reached with the committee that would enhance working conditions, Duquesne also recently presented an offer that included the highest guaranteed wage increases since the 2001-2006 contract. The University’s total compensation package offered most recently to our police officers and security guards is among the most generous in higher education in our region, and includes other significant compensation and incentives. While the Union has stated an intention to strike, Duquesne remains committed to the negotiating process with commitment to reach a resolution with the union. We respect the nature of the work our officers perform and value very much their professionalism and commitment to the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Duquesne University Chief of Police Eric Holmes has robust plans in place to ensure safety and help maintain normal activities on campus,” said Gabriel Welsch, executive vice president of marketing and communications.

According to the union, talks with the university will resume at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Before the strike, we spoke to Tyler Bernier, a sophomore at Duquesne, who said the strike makes him feel uneasy.

“Oh, 100%. Especially with everything going on now,” Bernier said. “And a place like Pittsburgh? Going downtown, there’s a lot of danger outside. I want that protection. I’d be a little more scared, of course.”

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