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The State System and the faculty union concluded five days of negotiations Tuesday without reaching agreement on a new contract. While the two sides made significant progress in the talks that began Oct. 14, including reaching tentative agreements on more than a dozen issues, including distance education, recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty, and professional responsibilities of faculty outside the classroom, they were not able to reach overall agreement. The union rejected the System's offer to provide raises to all permanent and temporary faculty and the identical healthcare package that other System employees have. The union previously indicated it would strike on Oct. 19 if an agreement not reached by then. The System remains committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to everyone, especially students. We have updated the FAQ related to negotiations and a faculty strike.
Chancellor Frank Brogan hosted a Facebook LIVE webcast to discuss the State System’s negotiations with the faculty union and to answer students’ questions. You can view the archived webcast on the State System’s Facebook page.
Since our last update to you, the faculty union (ASPCUF) has announced it will strike on October 19 if an agreement is not reached by then. We are asking the faculty union to return to the bargaining table next week and resume negotiations. To be clear, neither the Board of Governors, the Chancellor, nor the universities want a faculty strike and are working hard to avoid it.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that you may find helpful should a strike actually occur. While we hope that such an action by the faculty union would never occur, we want to be sure you are prepared if it does. These will be updated throughout this process as needed.
Regarding our negotiations with the union, we understand that a fair settlement with our talented faculty will include increased compensation in recognition of the important work they do. Right now, the State System is offering the faculty union about $159 million in pay raises if it accepts the healthcare changes that already apply to other employees plus other important operational changes that would allow our universities to be more nimble and flexible—all while preserving quality as well as keeping your tuition affordable. The State System is asking for contract changes that would save about $70 million over the next several years, which would help offset the new costs of increased faculty pay.
We hope that you find this information helpful. Please know that we will continue to provide updated information to you, our most important stakeholders. We encourage you to monitor this website for official information regarding the status of negotiations.
The State System has just concluded five days of marathon negotiating that we requested with the union (APSCUF) representing faculty at your university. On the last day of those meetings, APSCUF informed us that it may initiate a strike no later than October 30th. Clearly, such an action could have a significant impact on you and your classmates.
We remain committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith with APSCUF. Toward that goal, the State System proposed eight additional bargaining sessions, including meeting through this weekend. APSCUF declined to meet again until next month.
We have also asked the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to initiate a process called fact finding, which could serve as another avenue to help achieve a new agreement. During fact finding, each side will submit its proposals to a neutral third party appointed by that same board. The fact finder will review all of the information and—within 40 days—issue a series of recommendations that could help the two sides come to agreement. Neither side would be required to accept the fact finder’s recommendations. Until the fact finding process is concluded, a strike could not occur. During that time, we could continue to negotiate with the union with the hope of concluding negotiations with APSCUF well before fact finding is complete.
Our faculty provide extraordinary contributions to the success of both our students and our universities, and we understand that a fair settlement with faculty will include increased compensation. As of today, the State System is offering the faculty union nearly $159 million in pay raises if it accepts the healthcare changes that already apply to other employees plus other contractual changes that are important for the financial health of the universities. The State System also needs to make important operational changes that allow our universities to be more nimble and flexible—all while preserving quality as well as keeping your tuition affordable. These cost savings are necessary as we continue our efforts to thoroughly examine our universities’ operations in order to help preserve the System’s long-term future.
As additional information is made available, we will add it to this website.
The State System has been negotiating with the union (APSCUF) that represents faculty at your university and the other universities in the System. APSCUF has announced that it will be conducting a strike authorization vote among its members at each of the State System universities on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. To clarify, that vote is not a vote to strike, rather a decision among union members that would authorize the APSCUF leadership to call for a strike at some time in the future.
Regardless of the outcome of the Sept. 7-9 vote, classes and campus events will continue as planned unless you are otherwise notified by the university.
We have excellent faculty members, and we want to reach an agreement that both honors their dedication and recognizes the financial challenges ahead. The State System will continue to bargain in good faith with APSCUF toward a new contract that is fair to everyone, especially students.
Several additional negotiating sessions are scheduled for the future, including on Sept. 8.
With classes set to begin Monday, you might have heard about the faculty union's (APSCUF) ongoing consideration of a potential strike. First, please know that the academic year will start as planned regardless of any action the faculty union might take. Here is some information that we hope you will find useful:
As background, you should know that Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education negotiates a single contract for all faculty who work at the 14 universities in the State System, including the faculty at your university. The State System is committed to bargaining in good faith with all of its labor unions, including APSCUF, which represents the faculty.
Nonetheless, we understand that the faculty union’s leadership is meeting this week to decide whether to ask its members to take a strike authorization vote during the fall semester. Such votes have become a regular part of the contract negotiations process between the union and the State System. In fact, APSCUF has conducted similar votes during each of the last four rounds of contract negotiations. In each case, while the membership voted to grant its leadership the authority to call a strike should negotiations break down, a faculty strike has never occurred. We can only hope that APSCUF recognizes the potentially devastating impact that a strike would have on our students.
Our faculty members are remarkable men and women who are critically important to the success of our students and our universities. The current salaries of State System faculty are among the highest in the nation—ranking near the top 10 to 15 percent among their peers at similar public institutions—a fact acknowledged by an APSCUF campus leader and posted on the union’s website earlier this year.
The State System is proud of the fact that our faculty are compensated so well, but we also acknowledge that rising tuition is putting a strain on students and their families. As such, we are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to everyone—faculty and students. We will continue to work toward that goal.
You may follow the progress of our negotiations with the faculty union at www.passhe.edu/APSCUF.