POSTED BY MARTIN KICH
Writing for the Reading Eagle, David Mekeel reports that Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union representing the faculty of the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), has made little progress in its continuing efforts to negotiate a new contract. The previous contract expired more than a year ago on June 30, 2015, and “although negotiations have been ongoing—18 sessions have been held so far, with more slated for Thursday and Friday—the sides appear to still be miles apart.”
Mekeel divides the body of the article into three parts, covering the faculty perspective, the administrative perspective, and the students perspective.
On the faculty side, he highlights the following:
“After 15 months of negotiation, the system finally produced a new proposal. But Mash said it included more than 200 changes to the union’s current contract.
“Mash said the union didn’t feel the proposal was a good-faith effort.
“’We should have been talking about those changes months ago,’ he said.
“Regardless, the sides have continued to meet, and have been able to come to agreement on some smaller issues. The big-ticket items, however, are nowhere close to being resolved.
“’On the big things that would settle the contract, we’re galaxies apart,’ Mash said.
“One of the issues is health care, which is a typical sticking point on labor negotiations.
“Another is the system’s desire to put more resources into online learning and change the role of adjunct professors.
“The system is proposing increasing the number of courses an adjunct professor can teach from four to five, and eliminating some of their other responsibilities.
“Mash said the union is firm on its stance about what those proposed measures would do.
“’These things go to the very quality of the education we provide,’ he said.
“Along with the nuts and bolts of the contract, Mash said union members are also concerned about how the negotiation process has gone.
“’It’s been a long, frustrating process that has been insulting to the faculty,’ he said. ‘They haven’t treated the faculty with dignity. I think that really resonates with them.’”
Mekeel’s complete article is available at: http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/state-system-of-higher-education-faculty-union-remain-far-apart-on-contract.