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PA University Workers' Contracts Approved

A tentative agreement was reached following a three-day strike by faculty and staff at Pennsylvania's state-owned universities. (APSCUF)
A tentative agreement was reached following a three-day strike by faculty and staff at Pennsylvania's state-owned universities. (APSCUF)
December 23, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Faculty and staff at Pennsylvania's state-owned universities are getting pay raises just in time for the holidays.

Tentative contracts were agreed to after a three-day strike in October, the first in the history of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. This week the board of governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education gave its final approval, clearing the way for those contracts to go into effect.

Union president Ken Mash said the negotiations were tough, but the union was able to achieve its core objectives.

"It was most important to us to protect the quality of education that we deliver at our universities," he said, "and also to stick up for our most vulnerable members, namely our adjunct faculty members."

The universities had sought to increase the number of adjunct or part-time faculty and separate them into a lower pay scale, but the union successfully resisted that effort. According to Mash, the raises in the contracts are less than those won by other public-sector unions in the Commonwealth, but some members will see increases going back to last January.

"Retroactive to 2015, there was a step increase for our faculty, which helps our junior faculty," he said, "and then, we got 2.75 percent for this year, and 2 percent for next year."

The union did agree to concessions on health-insurance plans, raising the cost of deductibles for workers. The board of governors said the final contract does meet necessary cost savings for the university system.

More information is online at apscuf.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA