PASSHE Collective Bargaining Negotiations
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) continues to negotiate a new contract with the faculty union APSCUF (Association of State College and University Faculties). Both parties are working to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of our students and the 14 PASSHE universities. It is the hope of PASSHE and Bloomsburg University the faculty contract will be rectified well in advance of any labor action. Ultimately, it is our primary concern to ensure our students continue moving toward their degrees.
PASSHE ratifies new contracts
March 20 — 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 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.
APSCUF approves tentative agreement
March 8 — The membership of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has voted to ratify the tentative agreement it reached last month with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The agreement will now go to the PASSHE Board of Governors for final action.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the vote taken by the APSCUF membership to ratify the tentative agreement on a new faculty contract,” said Gary Dent, PASSHE vice chancellor for human resources and labor relations. “The tentative agreement will now go to the Board of Governors for its consideration.”
The Board has scheduled a special meeting for March 20 to consider the agreement. The Board at the same meeting will consider a separate agreement with athletic coaches. The coaches' bargaining unit voted earlier to approve a new four-year contract. APSCUF represents both bargaining units, which separately include about 5,500 faculty and 600 coaches.
Latest PASSHE News
PASSHE, APSCUF resume negotiations tomorrow
Jan. 31 — 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 BOG chairman issues statement on contract negotiations with faculty union
Jan. 24 — 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. Pichini made his remarks during the Board’s regular quarterly meeting.
SCUPA ratifies tentative agreement, APSCUF negotiations continue
Jan. 11 — 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, APSCUF resume contract negotiations Friday
Jan. 3 — 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 said, “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."
PASSHE, APSCUF cancel bargaining session
Dec. 19 — 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 Jan. 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."
PASSHE, coaches reach tentative agreement on new contract
Dec. 14 — The coaches are represented by 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 SCUPA, means PASSHE has now successfully concluded negotiations with all of its bargaining units, with the exception of the unit representing faculty.
PASSHE seeks agreement addressing costs, course availability
Dec. 4 — Contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) are continuing. The next bargaining sessions will be Dec. 11 and 19.
PASSHE responds to APSCUF strike authorization vote
Nov. 16 — PASSHE released the following statement in response to the vote results announced by APSCUF authorizing a possible strike by the faculty union: “We remain committed to achieving an agreement with our faculty union that is fair to everyone, especially to our students and their families who provide almost 75 percent of the revenue necessary to operate our universities through tuition and fees. We have a fair offer on the table and hope to reach a settlement with APSCUF very soon.”
PASSHE presents new proposal to APSCUF
Nov. 9 — The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) have been engaged in collective bargaining for nearly two years. The two sides met again today, during which PASSHE presented a comprehensive proposal.
PASSHE, SCUPA reach tentative agreement on new contract
Oct. 17 — 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.
PASSHE declines binding arbitration in negotiations with APSCUF
Oct. 16 — 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.
Whether you heard in class or reports in the media, I’m sure most of you know that faculty at Bloomsburg University and the other 13 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are in contract negotiations. Most recently, the faculty voted to authorize their leadership to call a strike. I want to emphasize that this authorization does not mean faculty are on strike.
I can certainly understand how this information causes concern for students. I assure you that no one wants to see a disruption in your progress toward a degree. Negotiators from PASSHE and the faculty union APSCUF (Association of State College and University Faculties) continue to work toward resolving outstanding issues and we’ve never had a faculty strike in PASSHE’s 30-year history. We are optimistic that negotiations will conclude successfully.
However, I also want to assure you that if a strike is called, Bloomsburg University has a plan to continue operating as normally as possible. Dining and residence halls will remain open and university support and safety staff will continue to serve students.
PASSHE has launched a website to provide specific information for students at all 14 universities, including Bloomsburg, and their parents, www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/pnp/Pages/Negotiation_Updates.aspx. The website addresses academic concerns and expectations for students in the event of a system-wide strike. There is also a link to this website from the Bloomsburg University Today page.
Because this is a system-wide contract, PASSHE will be the main source of information related to the possible strike. The Web site will be updated as more information becomes available; however, students with specific questions about financial or academic matters at Bloomsburg University may contact the following individuals:
- Academic questions: Jonathan Lincoln, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, (570) 389-4805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- All other questions: Brenda Cromley, executive assistant to the president, (570) 389-4674 or email@example.com or Rosalee Rush, assistant vice president, marketing and communications, (570) 389-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have specific financial concerns, please contact the business office at (570) 389-4013.
Please be assured that the welfare of all students is the main priority for the administration and the faculty. If APSCUF does call for a strike, at its conclusion, everyone will work together to implement Bloomsburg University’s academic recovery plan to minimize the impact on students.
David L. Soltz
President, Bloomsburg University
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 Oct. 22, Nov. 2, and Nov. 9.
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
— Karen Ball, PASSHE's vice chancellor for external relations | 717-720-4053