By Emily Leayman
The Legislative Assembly of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) voted to allow all of the members of the union to vote on the tentative contract.
At the meeting, APSCUF President Steve Hicks announced that voting would be available from March 4 to 6. Each chapter will have polls open for six hours on the two to three days set in March. Hicks said a “simple majority vote” is needed in order to approve the contract.
All APSCUF members from the 14 Pennsylvania State System of High Education (PASSHE) schools need to vote in order for the contract to be ratified, according to Dr. Kevin Mahoney, Public Relations representative for the KU chapter of APSCUF.
Dr. Paul Quinn, president of the KU chapter of APSCUF, announced that the vote will take place on all three days that APSCUF set.
After voting is complete, the ballots will be sealed and sent to the APSCUF state office in Harrisburg, according to Mahoney. The results will likely be known by the weekend.
The Legislative Assembly met in Gettysburg from Feb. 7 to 9. 14 delegates from each PASSHE school attended.
Dr. Glenn Richardson Jr., the KU delegate to the APSCUF Legislative Assembly, noted in his Legislative Assembly Report that there was a sense of relief among delegates that negotiations for a new contract were most likely resolved. APSCUF has spent 19 months without a contract and two years negotiating with PASSHE.
“While APSCUF agreed to concessions on a number of fronts, the union fought off the worst of the worst and reached a tentative agreement that most felt was fair, given the environment we are in,” said Richardson.
The KU chapter held the first meeting regarding the contract on Feb. 5. About 75 faculty members attended.
According to Mahoney, the faculty voiced the most concern about PASSHE’s proposed retirement incentive. It will allow faculty members that retire early to receive a cash payment, which is calculated by the years they worked and salary. Members who were considering retiring feel “pushed out” and feel they would not have health care security if they did not take this offer.
They also were concerned about the salaries in the contract not keeping up with inflation levels. According to Mahoney, this is the third contract in a row that has had that effect. Temporary faculty and high-salaried faculty are affected the most.
The Representative Council, which includes representatives from each academic department, met on Feb. 7 to discuss how to vote at the Legislative Assembly. According to Mahoney, the vote to allow all APSCUF members to ratify the contract was unanimous.
Mahoney said that if the contract is not ratified, APSCUF and PASSHE will not go right back to negotiating.
By reaching a tentative agreement, “Negotiations Team felt this is the best contract they could achieve at this point.” Therefore, APSCUF would likely organize a strike.