PASSHE, APSCUF agree on framework for new faculty contract
Harrisburg –The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) have agreed to the framework for a new contract with the approximately 5,500 faculty at the 14 state-owned universities. More information will be made available as the ratification process continues.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.
Jan. 25, 2013
PASSHE Board of Governors Chairman issues statement
regarding contract negotiations with faculty union
on the APSCUF contract negotiations. It includes a summary of PASSHE's latest proposal to APSCUF, which was presented during the Nov. 9 negotiations session, as well as detailed summaries of proposals related to healthcare and temporary faculty.
A Letter to LHU Students, Parents and Staff
FROM: Michael Fiorentino, Jr., President
DATE: November 19, 2012
SUBJ: Faculty/Coaches Negotiations
Some students and staff have voiced concerns relative to a potential job action by the APSCUF bargaining units which represent faculty and coaches.
At the present time, the parties, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and State APSCUF, continue to negotiate on a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the agreements that expired June 30, 2011.
Lock Haven University and PASSHE remain hopeful that the parties will be able to reach an agreement and that no job action on the part of APSCUF represented employees is necessary.
The university will provide students and staff with appropriate updates as information becomes available.
Lock Haven University continues to plan for all normal activities and encourages students and staff to do the same.
University management is prepared to address issues in the unfortunate event there is a job action. Appropriate communication will be provided to students and staff regarding the status of negotiations and/or plans in the event of a job action.
Additional information regarding the status of negotiations can be located at the following web addresses: www.lhup.edu and www.passhe.edu
Please feel free to contact the following individuals should you have specific questions regarding this matter.
Students: Dr. Linda Koch, Vice President for Student Affairs
Media and External Constituencies: Mr. Rodney Jenkins, Executive Assistant to the President for External Relations and Communications
Staff: Ms. Deana Hill, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Does the faculty strike authorization vote mean there definitely will be a faculty union strike?
The strike-authorization vote taken by the faculty union does not automatically mean there will be a strike. The faculty union took similar votes during each of the last three rounds of negotiations; none resulted in a strike.
2. How will people know if a strike is called?
If a strike by the faculty union appears imminent, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will be in regular communication with students and university employees.
3. Will the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities, including Lock Haven University, close if a strike is called?
The universities will remain open, to the extent possible, if a faculty strike is called. By law, individual faculty members have the right to decline to participate in a strike called by the union so individual classes could still be held. Each university has a contingency plan it would implement in the event of a strike. The goal of every contingency plan is to keep the campuses open, to ensure students and employees are safe and to keep students on schedule toward the completion of their degrees.
4. What should students do if a faculty strike is called?
If the faculty union calls a strike, students will be expected to report to all of their classes. Individual faculty members may choose to continue teaching. If a strike occurs, questions on classes should be directed to the LHU External Relations and Communications Office at (570) 484-2539.
5. Should students with on-campus work-study jobs continue to report for work?
Yes. Students with on-campus work-study jobs would need to continue to report to work, as the university would remain open if a strike was called. If a student works for a faculty member who has not reported for work, the student should report to his/her college's dean's office.
6. Will university facilities such as, the library, computer labs, dining services, residence halls, fitness center, registrar's office, Public Safety, Health Center, and other administrative offices be open in the event of a strike?
Yes. To the extent practical, the university would remain open so all of these facilities and offices would remain open. All employees represented by other unions are required to work in the event of a strike by faculty and/or coaches. Information about extended hours for services and facilities especially important to students, as well as other special events (films, lectures, etc.) for the university community would be posted on the university website as information was received.
7. Will an internship or a practicum be affected by a strike?
Because individual faculty may choose to continue teaching during a strike called by the union, this would be determined on a case-by case basis.
8. Will counseling services be available in the event of a strike?
Many counseling professionals are faculty and may be unavailable if a strike occurs. If a faculty strike occurs, every effort would be made to refer students to other counseling services available in the area.
9. What about extracurricular activities that are sponsored by the university - will they go on as scheduled?
Yes, to every extent possible. In the case that a program or event is dependent upon a faculty member who would choose to go on strike, and this event was canceled, this information would be posted on the LHU web events calendar.
10. How would the latest information regarding a strike be disseminated?
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's website would be updated regularly with information regarding the status of negotiations. If a faculty strike occurs, information about operation of the LHU campus would be posted on the KU website. Persons also could contact the Office of External Relations and Communications at (570) 484-2539.
Oct. 17 - Sent on Behalf of Karen Ball – TO: Board of Student Government Presidents
I have heard from a number of you today requesting guidance on the status of negotiations between the State System and APSCUF, our faculty union.
First, please allow me to provide you with some background information. PASSHE employees are represented by seven separate labor unions. We have reached final or tentative agreements with six of them. In fact, we announced a tentative agreement with SCUPA today, the union which represents admissions, financial aid, residence life, and other student support services. Each of the settled contracts is structured to assure that any new costs incurred are offset as much as possible with savings through redesigned health care benefits or changes in how work is done.
APSCUF’s most recent contract with PASSHE expired on June 30, 2011. In the absence of a new contract, the faculty has been working under the terms of the old contract. That means no salary increases, changes in benefits, etc. There is no timeline on how long this situation can continue.
We are very mindful of the fact that nearly three-fourths of the revenues for your university come from tuition and fees, with the remainder covered by our annual state appropriation. We are also aware that many of our students and their families are finding it difficult to pay for increases in those costs.
APSCUF recently requested that we enter into binding arbitration to reach a final agreement on a new contract. What that would mean is a neutral third party would be appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to decide the terms of the contract. We denied this request because of our major concern that the neutral party would not be bound to consider the financial ability of PASSHE to pay for its decisions. We also believe the negotiating process works.
That brings us to this week. You should have received a message from the Chancellor’s Office yesterday that contains information about the PASSHE and APSCUF current bargaining positions. Your university contact and/or the Office of the Chancellor will update you as events change.
We have asked the university presidents to designate a contact person to be available to answer questions. Please see a list of the university contacts at the end of this message. We will provide the remaining contact information as soon as it is available. I encourage you to reach out to these contacts to help you in responding to questions you might get from your fellow students. You also can refer other students to these individuals so they may speak with them directly.
The leadership of APSCUF is holding a legislative council meeting on Saturday. It is our understanding that there might be a strike authorization vote taken at that meeting. It is important for you to know that this is NOT A VOTE TO STRIKE. It is a step in the process that must be taken before a strike vote actually could be taken. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for October 22, November 2, and November 9.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
Lock Haven University’s student contacts:
- Rodney Jenkins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Assistant to the President for External Relations and Communications
- Dr. Linda Koch: email@example.com
Vice President for Student Affairs
10/17 news release from PASSHE: PASSHE, SCUPA reach tentative agreement on new contract
Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that would run through June 30, 2015.
Both parties said they believe the tentative agreement, which was reached yesterday, is a fair one and will recommend its ratification. SCUPA members will vote on the tentative agreement first, followed by the PASSHE Board of Governors.
Once ratified by each side, the agreement will allow PASSHE and its employees to continue to provide high quality support and services to the State System’s nearly 115,000 students, officials said. In announcing the tentative agreement, SCUPA leaders recognized the prior work done by the late Marc Kornfeld on the negotiations that led up to their successful conclusion.
SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania. The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.
10/15 Letter from the Chancellor
October 15, 2012
Dear Dr. Hicks:
Thank you for your letter of September 25, 2012. After a review of your request for binding arbitration, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) must decline your offer. Under the provisions of PASSHE’s enabling legislation, Act 188, the Board of Governors and I have fiduciary and legal duties to assure that the system is operated in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner. We believe it would be improper to delegate those responsibilities to a third party arbitrator who does not have the responsibility or duty to consider the financial implications of their decisions and who is not obligated to take into account the interests of Pennsylvania taxpayers or the long-term effects of those decisions on the Commonwealth or PASSHE.
We also considered the following in making our decision:
- Based on our ability to reach agreements with five of our bargaining units, we remain committed to the negotiating process.
- We fully endorse our proposal presented at the October 5th bargaining session which contains the following elements:
- Salary increases consistent with the Commonwealth pattern established with the AFSCME bargaining unit as well as step increments for faculty moving up the salary schedule, annual cash payments for faculty at the top of the pay range, and an increase in compensation for summer employment. In addition, the proposal provides summer, winter and overload compensation tied to the current academic year’s salary structure.
- Modifications to the PASSHE health care plan to make it more aligned with the PEBTF benefit plan. Membership in PEBTF includes 80,000 Commonwealth employees including the Governor and other executive branch personnel and almost 4,300 of 12,700 PASSHE employees.
- Realignment of pay for temporary faculty to better reflect regional rates at other higher education institutions while assuring that PASSHE universities remain competitive employers.
- Final phase-out of the distance education incentive payments originally inserted into an agreement in 1999. PASSHE distance education programs and online courses have significantly grown since that time, and far more faculty have the requisite skills to revise a course, which negate the need for the original concept.
- A proposal to shift to a defined contribution model of funding retiree health benefits for future new hires only, similar to the model recently adopted by Penn State. This is necessary to begin to address the growing retiree health care liability which currently is $1.4 billion.
- Offer to reopen the one-time retirement incentive program offered to eligible employees in 2010 if the successor collective bargaining agreement is ratified by APSCUF members by December 31, 2012.
PASSHE believes that the collective bargaining process is the best way to reach an agreement and we remain committed to reaching a fair and affordable contract.
Dr. John C. Cavanaugh