BOG approves contracts with faculty, coaches, nurses, police and security officers

Frank Brogan

   BROGAN

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education today approved new collective bargaining agreements with unions representing faculty, coaches and nurses at the 14 state-owned universities. The BOG also approved a "wage reopener" for campus police and security officers and a two-year merit pool for nonrepresented employees.

The membership of each of the unions had previously ratified the agreements, all of which were negotiated separately earlier this year. The new agreements include annual salary increases for virtually all covered employees.

For faculty and coaches, the agreements also include healthcare plan revisions designed to produce cost savings for the State System while ensuring the continuation of a comprehensive package of medical and prescription drug coverage for the employees. Similar revisions were made in January to the State System-administered healthcare plan covering university health center nurses and campus police and security officers, at the same time they were implemented for System employees not represented by a union, including the chancellor, university presidents and other administrators and managers.

"Each of the new agreements balances the Board's desire to provide increases in compensation to our employees with the necessity to achieve cost savings for the universities and the System," said Board Chair Cynthia Shapira.

"We are pleased to have reached a successful conclusion to this process and look forward to working together to ensure our more than 100,000 students have continued access to educational opportunities that are of the highest quality at the best value for their investment," said State System Chancellor Frank Brogan.

The new agreement with the faculty union runs through June 30, 2018; the agreements with the coaches and nurses will expire a year later. The contract with the police and security officers expires in August 2017. The separate agreements between the State System and Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties covering faculty and coaches are retroactive to July 1, 2015.

Under the terms of the agreement with the APSCUF-faculty bargaining unit, faculty will receive two immediate pay increases, one retroactive to the start of the spring 2016 semester; the other, to the start of the fall 2016 semester. Faculty still moving up the pay schedule will receive a salary increase of either 2.5 percent or 5 percent retroactive to January; those already at the top of the salary schedule will receive a one-time cash payment equivalent to 2.5 percent of their annual salary. All faculty will receive an additional 2.75 percent increase retroactive to August. All faculty also will receive a 2 percent increase at the start of the fall 2017 semester.

The agreement with the faculty union also includes a variety of changes in contract language, including to that involving the appointment of faculty, performance reviews, retrenchment and distance education.

Coaches, who also are represented by APSCUF, will immediately receive a 3 percent salary increase retroactive to the start of the just-concluded semester. In addition, full-time coaches also will receive a lump sum payment of $1,500; and part-time coaches, $750. They also will receive increases of 2.75 percent in January 2018 and 2.5 percent in January 2019, plus will be eligible for additional merit increases of up to 2.5 percent in both July 2017 and July 2018, based on performance.

University health center nurses, who are represented by the Office of Professional Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, will immediately receive a 3.5 percent increase retroactive to October, their first general pay increase since 2010. They also will receive increases of 2 percent in July 2017 and 2.5 percent in July 2018, plus service increments averaging about 2.25 percent in January 2018 and January 2019. The new contract also increases the reimbursement rates nurses receive for costs associated with professional development and continuing education required to maintain their certification.

Campus police and security officers, who are represented by the Security, Police, and Fire Professional of America, will receive a 3.5 percent increase retroactive to October 1.

Nonrepresented employees will be eligible for merit-based increases in January 2017 and January 2018. The merit pool will total 2.75 percent and 4.25 percent of total salaries paid respectively. The amount of increase each employee receives will be determined based on his or her prior year's performance evaluation.