By Emily Leayman
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) voted in favor of accepting the new contract last week.
Over 95 percent of the members voted to accept the contract negotiated between APSCUF and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in February.
The last step for the agreement is a vote from the PASSHE Board of Governors and signature from the governor.
According to Kenn Marshall, PASSHE Media Relations Manager, the Board of Governors will hold a meeting on March 20 to discuss the agreement.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the vote taken by the APSCUF membership to ratify the tentative agreement on a new faculty contract,” said Gary Dent, PASSHE vice chancellor for human resources and labor relations. “The tentative agreement will now go to the Board of Governors for its consideration.”
“The faculty support for this contract is a testament to the dedication of our negotiations team and negotiations committee, which have both worked diligently over the last 26 months to reach a fair agreement with the State System,” said APSCUF president Steve Hicks.
Dr. Kevin Mahoney, Public Relations representative for the KU chapter of APSCUF, believes the faculty is satisfied with the victory of protecting temporary faculty, as well as the contract itself given economic conditions.
“I voted for this contract, because I see it as a victory for our union in protecting temporary faculty and refusing to let the State System of Higher Education be dismantled piece-by-piece,” said Mahoney.
However, Mahoney said that it is not a “good contract across the boards,” due to the salaries remaining behind inflation rates for the third contract in a row.
Mahoney said that some faculty members might have had some conflicts with the contract, and had no choice but to accept it.
“I hoped we learned that if we believe in the mission of higher education and of PASSHE, then we better be prepared to fight for it,” said Mahoney.
While the faculty does not have any more steps to take with the contract, potential retirees must decide if they will retire sooner. In the new contract, PASSHE offers a bonus for faculty members who announce their retirement by March 31. The bonus depends on how long the retiree worked for PASSHE. The retirement would be effective at the end of the spring semester.