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PASSHE Contract Negotiation Updates

This site has been established to provide information regarding contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). PASSHE has seven units with collective bargaining agreements; contact agreements have been reached with six of these seven units.

It is the hope of PASSHE and all system universities that a settlement will be reached soon.

In the event of a faculty work stoppage, IUP has a strike contingency plan that would be put in place. In the event that a faculty strike is called, the university will remain open and campus operations will continue to the extent possible.

It is important to note that the strike authorization vote, which took place in November 2012, does not mean that 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. There has never been a strike by members of APSCUF.

Mar. 20, 2013

PASSHE Board of Governors ratifies contracts with faculty, coaches

New labor agreements run through June 30, 2015

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors today ratified a pair of new collective bargaining agreements with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents both university faculty and athletic coaches.

The separate agreements, both of which run through June 30, 2015, were previously ratified by the members of the two bargaining units.

The new contracts include salary increases that essentially track those provided to other state employee unions, as well as changes in PASSHE’s health care plan and other workplace revisions that should produce both immediate and long-term savings for the State System. Eligible faculty and coaches will be given a one-time opportunity to participate in a retirement incentive program similar to that offered to all other PASSHE employee groups in 2010. They will have until March 29 to decide whether to take the incentive.

“The approval of these two contracts brings to a conclusion a more than two-year process, during which we successfully negotiated new agreements with all of our labor unions,” said Board Chairman Guido M. Pichini. “Throughout the process, we have been guided by our mission to continue to offer high quality, affordable education to our students. The Board appreciates the enormous amount of time and effort everyone involved put into this process.”

The new agreement with the faculty bargaining unit includes general pay increases of 1 percent each in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and 2 percent in 2014-15. Faculty also will receive either annual service increments of 2.5 percent or 5 percent in each of the three years as they move up the salary schedule or annual cash payments equivalent to 2.5 percent of their base salary if they already are at the top of the pay scale. About one-third of faculty receives the increments.

The new agreement with the coaches’ bargaining unit includes salary increases of 2.5 percent in 2012-13 and 2.25 percent in 2013-14, as well as performance-based merit pools of 3 percent each in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Coaches do not receive annual service increments. Minimum salaries for both head and assistant coaches will be increased effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Faculty will have higher co-payments for prescription drugs as well as for some office and emergency room visits, while coaches will make larger contributions to the cost of their healthcare premiums. PASSHE and APSCUF also will begin meeting no later than September to develop an optional defined contribution healthcare plan for future retirees.

The agreement with faculty includes $400,000 a year for faculty professional development, including for programs and activities specifically related to innovation in teaching and improvement of student learning outcomes.

“In the rapidly changing world of higher education, innovation is essential. We want to encourage such efforts among all of our faculty,” Mr. Pichini said.

The new contract eliminates the payments faculty currently receive for the development and re-development of distance education courses, including those offered online, while ensuring faculty have the technical support they need to make certain the courses are designed and delivered in a way that is most effective and best meets students’ needs.

The Board also approved a merit pool to cover potential increases for PASSHE’s approximately 1,400 non-represented employees in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15. Non-represented employees do not receive general pay increases. Any increases they receive are based on an evaluation of their job performance.

Mar. 4, 2013

State university faculty begin voting on labor contract proposal 

Today starts the voting by faculty at the 14 state universities on a four-year contract proposal that will ensure labor peace in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education through June 2015.
—Source: By Jan Murphy, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News

Feb. 13, 2013

Update on Contract Negotiations from President Driscoll and IUP APSCUF President Staszkiewicz

Feb. 8, 2013

Leadership of faculty union recommends approval of new State System contract

The leadership assembly of the union representing faculty at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities recommended today that a tentative contract with the State System of Higher Education be approved by the union’s 5,500 members.
—Source: By Bill Schackner, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Jan. 31, 2013

PASSHE, APSCUF resume negotiations tomorrow

Negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) resume tomorrow. PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent provided the following statement as the two sides prepare to meet:

“As we get set to return to the bargaining table tomorrow, we do so with a sense of cautious optimism that we are within reach of an agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come.

“PASSHE’s number one focus is protecting the interests of our students and their families who provide nearly three-fourths of the revenue needed to operate our universities. There is a limit to the amount of costs we can ask our students to absorb, especially in areas that are not directly related to the classroom.

“We have completed the compensation package portion of the agreement, which historically has been the last item in negotiations. There are, however, a small but significant number of issues yet to be resolved, including active and retiree healthcare, distance education and a new, optional plan for annuitant health care.

“As we have maintained throughout this more than two year process, increases in healthcare costs for both active and retired employees, combined with rapidly rising pension costs, are placing unsustainable financial pressure on the universities. In this regard, PASSHE is no different from the federal or state governments, or most other organizations, all of which have identified increasing costs in these areas as urgent problems that must be addressed.

“As we resume our negotiations tomorrow, we remain optimistic that we will resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to working together on what matters most – continuously enhancing the quality of education our students receive.”

Jan. 28, 2013

President Driscoll’s Message to Students 

Jan. 24, 2013

SCUPA contract ratified by Board of Governors

The Board of Governors has ratified a new four-year agreement with the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA). The SCUPA membership voted in December in favor of the agreement, which runs through June 30, 2015.

SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.

PASSHE now has final agreements with six of its eight bargaining units. A tentative agreement with the union that represents athletic coaches also has been reached and is awaiting ratification. Only the bargaining unit representing PASSHE faculty has yet to reach a new agreement with the State System. Those negotiations are continuing.

Jan. 24, 2013

PASSHE Board of Governors Chairman issues statement on contract negotiations with faculty union

Guido M. Pichini, chairman of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors, commented today on the status of contract negotiations between the State System and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents faculty at the 14 state-owned universities. Mr. Pichini made his remarks during the Board’s regular quarterly meeting.

Below is Mr. Pichini’s statement:

“As we prepare collectively for the start of the spring semester, I feel it is imperative that I address the topic most on everyone’s mind today – negotiations with our faculty union.

“First, let me reinforce the Board of Governors’ commitment to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the State System to continue to provide a quality education to our students for years to come.

“That has been our goal throughout this unprecedented process, during which we have negotiated with all of our unions in a single cycle. That has never happened before, and it has been extremely difficult.

“However, as everyone in this room likely is aware, we have been successful in achieving that goal with all of our unions, with the exception of the APSCUF bargaining unit that represents our university faculty.

“All of the agreements that have been reached to date have included an array of cost savings – in many cases, concessions – that have helped to offset the cost of wage and salary increases included in them.

“I want to personally thank each of those unions – and, even more important, their members – for recognizing the enormous challenges facing the State System and for partnering with us to achieve this success. I truly believe the sacrifices you made were essential to the long-term stability of our universities.

“All of us must remember why we are here – our students.

“The simple fact is without the cost savings we already have achieved through the agreements we have reached to date – and the additional savings we are seeking through the negotiations with APSCUF – the ability of our universities to continue to offer quality, affordable education would be – and is – seriously threatened.

“As difficult as these negotiations have been, we have been able to come to agreement with APSCUF on a number of very important issues, including wage and salary increases for virtually all faculty this year and in each of the next two years. Usually, that is the last area of agreement.

“There are only a small number of issues that have yet to be resolved, but they are significant. We cannot continue to incur the kinds of cost increases we have been experiencing; we must have cost savings.

“Healthcare represents an area where both cost savings and greater fairness to our employees can be achieved – and have been with our other unions.

“PASSHE is seeking to more closely align its healthcare plan with the plan offered by the Commonwealth to nearly 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet, as well as nearly one-third of all PASSHE employees.

“We have stated this goal repeatedly throughout these negotiations, and have been completely transparent on this matter, even placing a side-by-side comparison of the two plans on our public website.

“The unions representing both our university health center nurses and our campus police and security officers, whose members are covered by the PASSHE-run plan, have agreed to this concept; APSCUF continues to oppose it, without providing any response as to why this is not a reasonable request.

“The changes we have proposed not only would help ensure that virtually all PASSHE employees – including non-represented managers, administrators and executives – would receive the same level of benefits, but also would result in lower premiums for everyone in the plan.

“Most PASSHE employees covered by the plan – faculty, nurses, police and security officers and non-represented employees – pay either 15 percent or 25 percent of the total premium, depending on whether they participate in the System’s wellness plan.

“PASSHE currently pays more than $15,000 a year for family coverage under this plan, compared to $10,140 for family coverage under the Commonwealth’s plan. We must address that disparity, and we can begin to do so while ensuring greater fairness for all of our employees.

“We also must address the enormous financial obligation facing PASSHE in the area of annuitant healthcare, which, if allowed to continue unchecked, threatens the System’s viability. That obligation currently stands in excess of $1.4 billion, nearly the equivalent of PASSHE’s annual operating budget.

“The Board of Governors has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the fiscal integrity of the System. The vast majority of our costs – nearly 75 percent – are borne by our students and their families. I believe there is a limit to the amount of costs we can ask our students to absorb, especially in areas that are not directly related to the classroom.

“The change we have proposed in annuitant healthcare would begin to address these costs while providing future employees the option of choosing a defined contribution plan to cover their future healthcare expenses. Those employees – anyone hired after July 1, 2013 – still could choose the defined benefit plan, which currently is provided to all eligible retirees.

“The employee would have a choice of either plan, similar to the choice they have now when selecting a pension plan. APSCUF opposes this proposed change too, even though it would impact only future employees, and would provide those employees an additional choice while taking nothing away.

“These and other costs not related to the classroom are threatening to strip the universities of their ability to develop and offer the types of new programs students need – and even to maintain the ones they have now – and to modernize their academic facilities to ensure students receive the kinds of educational experiences necessary to assure their success.

“We must resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to working together on what matters most – continuously enhancing the quality of education our students receive.”

Jan. 21, 2013

PASSHE managers focused on future in faculty contract talks

Students return to campus for the spring semester with the same question hanging over their head that was there during the fall: Will their professors go out on strike?
—Source: By Jan Murphy, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News

Jan. 21, 2013

Where the disputes lie in the ongoing state university faculty contract talks

Some compromises have yet to be found to resolve the differences that exist in the bargaining positions of APSCUF, which represents the interests of more than 5,000 professors, and PASSHE.
—Source: By Jan Murphy, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News

January 2013 Update

As students of IUP prepare to return to campus for the start of Spring semester, surely they are occupied with thoughts of their upcoming class schedule, reuniting with fellow classmates, and getting back to achieving their educational goals. Unfortunately, one other item might be on their mind: whether their professors will be there to greet them.

Understandably, the status of negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has drawn increased attention from students and their families. First and foremost, students should know IUP has a plan in place should a faculty strike occur, as outlined in the FAQs on this website, as well as the latest information on the status of negotiations.

Students and their families should also know that PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable, and that positions the State System to continue to provide an affordable, quality education for years to come. PASSHE leadership has made it clear throughout these negotiations that its number one focus is representing the interests of students and their families, who provide nearly three-fourths of the revenue needed to operate the universities.

PASSHE has put a very reasonable compensation package for faculty on the table while also making it clear that it needs savings to offset the increased costs to the universities and, ultimately, to our students and their families. Two major cost drivers for our universities are the health care benefits we provide to both active and retired employees. If these aren’t addressed, these costs threaten to overwhelm the system and take away resources that could otherwise be used to improve and modernize our educational offerings to ensure students succeed.

PASSHE has offered a number of health care plan options with the goal of more closely aligning the system with the same health care plan that the Commonwealth’s 80,000 employees—including the Governor and his cabinet—all have. The changes could result in lower premiums while ensuring that all PASSHE employees receive benefits comparable to those received by other state employees.

For future, not current, employees, PASSHE has proposed to offer an optional health care account similar to the current option available for a retirement account. The change, which would begin to address a more than $1.4-billion outstanding financial obligation in this area, would apply only to employees hired after July 1, 2013.

The bottom line is that PASSHE and APSCUF must resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to focusing on how best to continuously enhance the quality of our academic programs as well as the educational experience of our students. There are far more important things for our students to be focused on when they return on January 28.

Jan. 11, 2013

SCUPA ratifies tentative agreement with PASSHE, negotiations continue with APSCUF

Members of the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA) have “overwhelmingly” ratified a new contract with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.

“The members have spoken and overwhelmingly ratified the tentative agreement with PASSHE,” SCUPA President Frances C. Cortez Funk said today. “Our state negotiating team, SCUPA leadership and work with PSEA in representing our members’ collective voice all have been validated through the ratification process.”

PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent expressed his appreciation to the members of SCUPA for their strong support for the new agreement, which, he said, “is fair to both parties.”

The tentative agreement will now go to the PASSHE Board of Governors for its approval.

Meanwhile, negotiations between PASSHE and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents State System university faculty, resumed today, with the two sides continuing to make progress toward a settlement.

“While today’s bargaining session produced good progress on some key issues and PASSHE is hopeful of reaching a final agreement with APSCUF very soon, there are still several important items that remain unresolved,” Dent said.

Dent also responded to several inaccurate statements recently made by APSCUF leadership in relations to the continuing negotiations.

“First and foremost, all of our stakeholders should know that PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come,” he said. “As with the other agreements with our unions, it must include savings to offset a new compensation package. A key area for savings which remains unresolved is health care for active employees.

PASSHE spends nearly $75 million a year on healthcare for its faculty. If nothing is done to change PASSHE’s current healthcare plan, costs are projected to increase by about $7.5 million next year.

PASSHE pays more than $15,000 annually for family coverage under the healthcare plan it administers for active employees, compared to the $10,140 the state pays for coverage under the Commonwealth’s plan. PASSHE has proposed changes to the plan that would more closely align it with the state-run plan, which provides healthcare coverage for 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet.

“In addition to producing cost savings, the revisions PASSHE has proposed would ensure that all State System employees – faculty, health center nurses, campus police and security officers, clerical and maintenance staff, athletic coaches, managers, administrators and executives – would receive essentially the same level of benefits, a concept APSCUF has continued to oppose,” Dent said.

A related – and still unresolved issue – is the rapidly escalating cost of providing healthcare benefits for eligible retirees. PASSHE presented more detailed information on the transition to a defined contribution plan in an effort to address the systemwide $1.4 billion outstanding financial obligation, which threatens the system’s sustainability. The proposal would not impact any current retirees or current employees; it would be applied only to persons hired by the State System after July 1, 2013.

The issue is similar to the Commonwealth’s pension liability problem. As the governor’s budget secretary said recently: “Absent meaningful structural pension reform, the state’s General Fund budget is on a very predictable path that will force a choice between either fully funding pension obligations or making cuts to the core functions of government.”

“For PASSHE, the choice will be between agreement on annuitant health care reform or an inability to offer new programs and to continue to improve and modernize its educational offerings to assure students succeed at its universities,” Dent said.

Dent also expressed his concern about recent statements by APSCUF officials regarding a potential strike should an agreement not be reached. “No one would be served by such action, particularly our 115,000 students and their families,” he said.

“The simple fact is that we must resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to focusing on how best to continuously enhance the quality of our universities’ academic programs as well as the educational experience of our students,” said Dent.

Jan. 3, 2013

PASSHE, APSCUF resume contract negotiations Friday

Negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) resume tomorrow. PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent provided the following statement as the two sides prepare to meet:

“With the onset of the new year we are poised to return to the bargaining table, with the goal of reaching a settlement with our final bargaining unit, APSCUF. I thought it was important to provide a brief update on where things stand and discuss our path forward.

“First and foremost, all of our stakeholders should know that PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come.

“As we have in the agreements we have reached to date, our number one focus is protecting the interests of our students and their families who provide nearly three-fourths of the revenue needed to operate our universities. For PASSHE, that certainly means arriving at an economic package that permits us to remain competitive in our ability to recruit and retain talented faculty members; they are, after all, a critical element in PASSHE’s ability to provide a quality education. But we also need to find solutions to our ever-increasing costs in certain areas, which, if not addressed, will threaten the financial viability of our System.

“Increases in healthcare costs for both active and retired employees, combined with rapidly rising pension costs, are placing unsustainable financial pressure on the universities. In this regard, PASSHE is no different from the federal or state governments, or most other organizations, all of which have identified increasing costs in these areas as urgent problems that must be addressed. We have no alternative. We must agree to new approaches before these costs overwhelm the System.

“PASSHE’s 14 universities are facing incredible and ever-increasing competition; business as usual is simply unacceptable. Throughout these negotiations with APSCUF, we have been open and transparent about the challenges we collectively face, particularly in an environment of declining state funding support and our families’ limited ability to absorb any tuition increases.

“We are just now recovering from the worst economic environment since 1937, and higher education has not been immune to these challenges. Given the impact of the recession on the Commonwealth’s budget, PASSHE leadership is preparing to once again aggressively pursue state funding in the upcoming budget debate.”

Dec. 19, 2012

PASSHE, APSCUF cancel bargaining session

The bargaining session scheduled for today between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has been canceled by mutual agreement. The two sides plan to resume talks on January 4, with additional scheduled negotiations to follow.

“Our overriding concern, as it has been throughout these negotiations, is the cost to our students and their families,” said PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent. “Our students pay approximately 73 percent of the costs necessary to operate our universities through tuition and fees. Seventy-three cents of every $1 in increased costs resulting from this agreement would be borne by students and their families.

“We have made clear the essential elements we need in this agreement, which include cost savings to offset proposed salary increases; redesign of our health care plan to more closely align it with that offered to more than 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet; and a plan to begin to address our annuitant health care costs. In its latest response, APSCUF rejected almost every element with the exception of levels of compensation.”

Dec. 14, 2012

PASSHE, coaches reach tentative agreement on new contract.
Negotiations continue with faculty; SCUPA to begin ratification vote Monday

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the union representing athletic coaches at the 14 state-owned universities have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The coaches are represented by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the same union that represents university faculty. Details of the tentative agreement, which would run through June 30, 2015, will be released upon its ratification.

The agreement, combined with a tentative agreement announced in late October with the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA), means PASSHE has now successfully concluded negotiations with all of its bargaining units, with the exception of the unit representing faculty.

SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life, and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses. SCUPA members will begin voting Monday on whether to ratify its tentative agreement with PASSHE. The coaches likely will vote sometime in late January or early February.

PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent, speaking on behalf of the State System’s leadership, expressed his appreciation to the members of the coaches’ negotiating team for their willingness to reach a contract that is fair to both parties.

Dec. 5, 2012

PASSHE seeks to address cost savings, students’ needs in final union talks

In successfully reaching agreements with six of our seven labor unions over the last approximately 15 months, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) sought both cost savings and the assurance that our students’ academic needs would be met into the future. Each of the unions recognized the enormous fiscal challenges facing the State System and partnered with us in achieving these goals. Read more

Nov. 27, 2012

President Driscoll’s message to students

Dear Students:

Welcome back. I hope that your Thanksgiving break was an enjoyable one.

As you may have heard in media reports, faculty at IUP and the other 13 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education who are members of the faculty union (APSCUF, the Association of State College and University Faculties) recently took a strike authorization vote.

This vote does not automatically mean there will be a strike. In fact, this action is an expected part of the negotiations process.

The leadership of PASSHE and APSCUF has negotiations scheduled for December 11 and Dec. 19. We remain hopeful that we will get closer to a contract settlement as a result of these meetings.

If a faculty strike is called, IUP would activate its contingency plan and remain open for business.

PASSHE has launched a website to provide specific information for students and parents at all 14 universities: PASSHE Negotiation Updates. There is also a link to this site from the IUP homepage, and IUP has its own website with information (this webpage).

Because this is a system-wide contract, PASSHE will be the main source of information related to negotiations.

As the semester draws to a close, I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of your classes and with finals.

Sincerely,

Michael Driscoll
President, IUP

Nov. 27, 2012

Pennsylvania state university professors won’t strike before spring

Faculty at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities will put off consideration of a possible strike until the spring semester, the head of the union said today.
—Source: By Bill Schackner, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pa. State System of Higher Education faculty postpone striking until after fall semester

A letter written by the president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties to students attending the 14 state universities, including Shippensburg and Millersville, advises them not to worry about faculty going out on strike before the end of the semester.
—Source: By Jan Murphy, The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News

Faculty at state-system schools delay strike decision

The faculty union at the 14 state-supported universities has postponed consideration of a strike until next semester, it told students in a letter Tuesday.
—Source: By Robert Moran, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Nov. 9, 2012

PASSHE Negotiations Update

Visit the PASSHE website for the latest information 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.

Oct. 17, 2012

PASSHE message to 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.

Karen Ball
Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
717-720-4053
kball@passhe.edu

IUP Contact: Michelle Fryling
Director of Media Relations
mfryling@iup.edu
(724) 357-2302

Oct. 17, 2012

PASSHE, SCUPA reach tentative agreement on new contract

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. Read more

Oct. 16, 2012

PASSHE declines APSCUF request for binding arbitration in contract talks

Citing both PASSHE’s responsibility under Act 188 and the success it already has achieved through normal negotiations with five of its other bargaining units, the State System has declined a request from its faculty union to submit to binding arbitration to decide final terms of a new contract. PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh notified the president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) of the System’s decision and encouraged the union to continue negotiating. Read more

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. Nearly 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.