On December 11, the APSCUF negotiations team met with the Chancellor’s representatives for the first time since the faculty at PASSHE’s fourteen universities overwhelmingly voted to authorize their leadership to call a strike. APSCUF negotiators had met internally to prepare a new comprehensive proposal, which was shared with the Chancellor’s team five days before the joint meeting. That proposal contained hundreds of thousands of dollars in concessions, withdrew some proposals, and adjusted several more. Despite the lead time, the Chancellor’s representatives were not prepared with a substantive response or counterproposal.
“The Chancellor and his employees keep telling our students and the public that they want to settle a fair contract,” said Steve Hicks, President of APSCUF, “but actions speak louder than words. Today was typical of previous negotiations sessions. We give them a proposal, and they need to wait to respond. They give us a proposal, we respond at the table, and they cannot counter. One can only wonder whether PASSHE is more interested in saying they are meeting than settling. Sheesh! They were ready to schedule meetings all the way into February.”
Another negotiations session is scheduled for next Wednesday, December 19, and two more dates were added in January.
“Our students deserve for both parties to be serious about reaching a resolution. Sadly, there is no indication that the Chancellor is equally committed to the collective bargaining process,” Hicks added. “We will return to the table and hope things get serious. Otherwise they will force us to escalate preparations for collective action.”