Faculty negotiators were again frustrated with the lack of progress at the bargaining table, but Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties leadership will not yet consider a strike date, APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said following today’s meeting at Dixon University Center. Additional talks are scheduled for Sunday.
“We will go to the table as many times as it takes to reach a contract that preserves quality for our students and is fair to faculty,” Mash said, “But our members spoke clearly in the votes they cast last week. It is unfair to our students and faculty members to prolong this process. If setting a date will encourage the State System to get serious about negotiating, we will do just that.”
Negotiators representing APSCUF and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education today discussed various topics including distance education and parking issues at California University of Pennsylvania.
Overall, faculty members are objecting to State System proposals that would, among other issues:
- Substantially increase the use of temporary faculty in lieu of permanent faculty
- Make use of students with few graduate credits to teach courses
- Stop funding faculty research and professional development
- Force on-campus students into distance education sections
- Give university presidents unilateral authority to transfer faculty members to other departments
- Cut the lowest-paid faculty members’ salaries by 20 percent
- Charge more for reduced medical benefits while salaries remain stagnant
Last week, APSCUF faculty members voted to authorize a strike, with 93 percent of voters in favor. The vote was the third of multiple steps before a faculty job action could commence. The remaining steps include committee approvals and setting a strike date. If the State System negotiates a fair contract, APSCUF members will not strike.
APSCUF coaches, who bargain separately, went to the polls Wednesday and Thursday, and they voted to authorize a strike.
In addition to a session Sunday, faculty contract-negotiation talks are slated for the beginning of next week.
Negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014 but have not yielded a contract that APSCUF feels preserves quality and is fair to faculty — and students. Faculty and coach contracts expired June 30, 2015.
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.