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PASSHE presents new proposal in negotiations with faculty union

Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809
Friday, November 9, 2012 
Harrisburg –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 that contained the following major components:
• General pay increases of 1 percent each in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and 2 percent in 2014-15. The increases essentially mirror those included in earlier agreements reached with PASSHE’s other labor unions, including AFSCME. The proposal also includes annual step increases for those faculty advancing on the salary schedule and annual cash payments for those at the top of the pay scale, also similar to what is included in the other agreements.
• A comparable salary schedule for full-time, temporary faculty, with a freeze at current salary levels for part-time temporary faculty.
• Final phase out of incentive payments instituted in 1999 to faculty for the development of distance education courses. The payments were intended to encourage the development of online courses, which were virtually non-existent at the time. Today, hundreds of courses—even entire programs—are being offered online and via other methods of distance education. The incentives have been effective and are no longer necessary.
• Modifications to the PASSHE managed healthcare plan to align it more closely with the plan offered by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF), which covers more than 80,000 state employees, including about one-third of all PASSHE employees. The revisions would produce premium cost savings for both PASSHE and PASSHE employees covered by the plan.
• A one-time reopening of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program that PASSHE offered to all employee groups approximately two years ago. APSCUF refused to allow its members to participate in the program when it was first offered; all other employee groups took part, producing annual savings to the State System of approximately $10 million.
PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair to everyone, especially to our students and their families who currently provide nearly two-thirds of the revenue needed to operate the universities. It is essential PASSHE achieve cost savings in any new agreement, as it has in all of the agreements with all of its other labor unions.
For more detailed information on PASSHE’s current proposals, including a comparison of benefits provided by the current PASSHE healthcare plan, the proposed changes to the plan and benefits provided by the PEBTF plan, go to the PASSHE website at and click on “Contract Negotiations Updates.”
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with nearly 120,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.