State System ready for pivotal weekend bargaining sessions with faculty union; updates student FAQs

Oct. 13, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education will continue negotiations with APSCUF as bargaining sessions resume Oct. 14 and are expected to continue through the weekend. The System has updated its negotiations website with an expanded list of frequently asked questions received from students over the past week.

"We want our students, their parents and the public to have as much information as possible about these negotiations and the potential strike that has been announced by the faculty union," said State System spokesman Kenn Marshall. "We are eager to return to the bargaining table to continue working with the faculty union to finalize an agreement. We have informed APSCUF that we are ready to stay at the table to make it happen. We must remain at the table until we reach a deal. Our students deserve nothing less."

In an attempt to narrow the focus of negotiations and to move the two sides closer to an agreement, the System has made a number of revisions to the comprehensive proposal it presented to APSCUF in June, even withdrawing some suggested provisions the union opposed. The two sides have reached tentative agreement on a variety of issues related to performance reviews and evaluation of faculty, workload and workload equivalents, unpaid educational leaves and teaching at locations off campus.

APSCUF has announced it will go on strike at 5 a.m., Oct. 19, if an agreement isn't reached by that time.

The State System has offered faculty raises ranging from 7.25 percent (plus additional cash payments totaling 5 percent) up to 17.25 percent over three years in exchange for healthcare plan changes and other contractual changes that would help produce needed cost savings for the universities, and give them greater flexibility while enhancing students' educational experiences.

The proposed healthcare plan changes would increase the share of the premium paid by faculty members from 15 percent to 18 percent, which would cost faculty about $7 to $14 more every two weeks. Other plan adjustments would include new deductible and co-insurance requirements for some medical services and higher prescription drug co-payments.

The proposed changes are identical to those applied in January to all other employee groups covered by the plan, including university health center nurses; campus police and security officers; and all State System employees not represented by a union, including the chancellor, university presidents and other administrators and managers. They also are similar to changes agreed to earlier this year by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the state's largest union, in negotiations with the Commonwealth. The State System has about 4,000 employees who are represented by AFSCME.

Information about the System's negotiations with APSCUF can be found at www.passhe.edu/negotiations. To view the updated Frequently Asked Questions, go to: www.passhe.edu/FactCenter/Pages/FAQs.aspx.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kenn Marshall | 717.720.4045 | kmarshall@passhe.edu