State System’s Board of Governors approves four new labor agreements
Sept. 3, 2014
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education today approved new collective bargaining agreements with four of its labor unions, which combined represent about 4,500 professional staff working in areas including admissions, financial aid, residence life and career services; university health center nurses; social workers and counselors; and clerical and maintenance staff. Negotiations with only one union remain unresolved.
The one-year agreements provide salary increases or cash payments for all covered employees effective January 2016, while most also include guaranteed healthcare cost savings for both the employees and the State System.
The agreements, which the membership of each of the unions ratified separately earlier this year, are with the State College University Professional Association (SCUPA), the Office of Professional Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania (OPEIU); the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). All run through June 30, 2016.
The Board earlier this year approved an agreement with the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA), the union that represents the approximately 225 campus police and security officers.
"We are very pleased to have new contracts in place with the majority of our unions," said Board of Governors Chairman Guido Pichini. "All sides recognized the significant challenges that continue to face the State System, and we worked together to reach agreements that benefit everyone, especially our students."
As a result of today's action by the Board of Governors, negotiations are continuing with only one union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), which represents university faculty and athletic coaches separately. Both of those bargaining units are continuing to work under the terms of their most recent contracts.
Each of the new collective bargaining agreements approved by the Board today calls for represented employees to receive an annual service increment equivalent to either 2.25 percent or 2.5 percent of their annual salary. The agreement with the nurses' unions also provides a $650 payment to all permanent employees who had attained one or more certifications in an appropriate specialization by July 1.
The agreements with SCUPA, PSSU and AFSCME freeze both the employee and employer contribution rates to the Pennsylvania Employee Benefit Trust Fund, the healthcare plan administered by the Commonwealth, resulting in savings that will partially offset the cost of the salary increases. Nurses are covered under a separate healthcare plan administered by the State System. The healthcare benefits they receive and level of premium cost sharing are the same as those provided to the System's non-represented employees.
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