By Andrew Kutzer
Contract negotiations between APSCUF and PASSHE continued into the fall semester with the union plan to hold a strike authorization vote from Sept. 7-9, allowing union leaders to call a strike if needed, according to Dan Spiegel, PR chair and spokesperson for APSCUF local.
“We are well mobilized for a strike. In the past, we may not have been as well prepared, but there is no greater aim of this faculty and our union to avoid a strike,” said Spiegel.
One of the issues in the negotiation is moving temporary faculty from teaching four courses to five without an increase in compensation along with healthcare payments, according to Spiegel. “I think five courses is a really heavy load, and mainly their proposals will hurt the quality of the education that we provide our students,” said Spiegel.
According to a PASSHE press release, the academic year will start “regardless of any action the faculty union might take.” The state system negotiates a single contract for all faculty who work at the 14 universities and that strike authorization votes have become a regular part of contract negotiations. APSCUF has voted on strike authorization in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2012.
On Aug. 26, both APSCUF and PASSHE put out press releases announcing that no agreement had been reached after two days of discussion on salary and compensation. A session on healthcare is planned for Sept. 8.
According to the release, the current salaries rank around the top 10 to 15 percent among peers at similar public institutions.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties represent faculty and coaches at PASSHE’s 14 universities. APSCUF represents around 5,500 members, according to Spiegel.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, composed of 14 universities, serves around 110,000 students and employs around 12,000 staff, according to the PASSHE website.
APSCUF and PASSHE are scheduled to have meetings on Sept. 16 and 21.