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APSCUF issued the following response today after negotiations with the State System:

The State System today rejected the one-year compromise the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties proposed in mid-October.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education countered with a proposal that would cost faculty members thousands of dollars more for healthcare.

APSCUF, which represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities, could not agree to such major changes, President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said.

Neither the contract deal Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf reached with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees nor the contract the State System reached with the State College and University Professional Association contained changes to healthcare costs. Earlier this week, the State System unilaterally increased healthcare costs and changed benefits for its managers.

“It is simply unacceptable for the State System to treat its faculty differently than other state employees,” Mash said. “We believe they wanted to sabotage our concessionary one-year offer with incendiary changes to our healthcare.

“We are a democratic organization, and we will go back to our members to see how they want us to proceed. It’s nothing short of absurd that amid an atmosphere of uncertainty, the System would act so provocatively toward its faculty.”

Without a contract, it becomes more difficult for faculty and coaches to provide a quality education for the more than 100,000 students enrolled in the commonwealth’s 14 publicly owned universities, Mash said.

The deal APSCUF offered in October was in line with the one negotiated between the governor and AFSCME. The System had reached similar agreements with its other unions. The offer included a one-year interim contract and a step increase effective in January. It also called for a continuation of monies for faculty research and for monthly reporting of membership data.

The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.