APSCUF coach negotiations continue, focusing on need for respect

Nov. 29, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Kathryn Morton, or 717-236-7486, Ext. 3007

After a brief, tense meeting Tuesday, coach negotiations continued today, digging into APSCUF’s concerns about job security.

On this second day of the bargaining session, negotiators with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education also discussed consolidation issues, bereavement leave, and compensation. But the issue of job security remained unresolved.

“We still need language in our collective bargaining agreement to prevent arbitrary separations,” Coach Executive Leader John Gump said. “We believe evaluations should matter. If we told a student-athlete for an entire season that they were performing well and then cut them from the team at the end of the year, that would be a problem — and wrong. We’re asking for respect and assurance that when we do a good job — when we provide opportunities and guidance to our student-athletes — our jobs are secure.”

As workers at state-owned universities, APSCUF coaches are public-sector employees. Thus, they deserve the chance to make course corrections based on evaluations, APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said — and not have to worry about being fired on a whim.

“This basic respect isn’t an expense,” Mash said, “so we’re struggling to understand why the State System doesn’t see the need for language in our agreement that would tie evaluations to contract renewals. Coach contracts of employment function differently from faculty, and we understand that distinction. This is about respect.”

The State System on Tuesday told The Indiana Gazette that “It is important to note the collective bargaining agreement that covers coaches has had language for years that already safeguards against arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory behavior by management.” Mash pointed out that this language only applies to evaluations.

“It’s a joke that they would say this while refusing to use evaluations for contract renewals,” Mash said. “Seriously.”

Talks are scheduled to continue Jan. 11–12.

The current four-year contract expired June 30, 2023; it remains in effect while negotiations continue. Negotiators have not set a date by which they expect to complete contract talks. In the past, APSCUF coaches have worked more than a year with an expired contract.

APSCUF represents about 5,000 faculty and coaches at the State System campuses: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester.

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