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Panel OKs tentative Pa. university faculty pact

| Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 6:26 p.m.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A union negotiating committee has unanimously approved a tentative contract agreement affecting about 5,500 faculty members at state-owned universities in Pennsylvania.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties said the panel made up of union leaders from the 14 campuses approved the proposal during a statewide teleconference Monday. The agreement with the State System of Higher Education will now be presented Friday to the union's legislative assembly, which could send it to the rank and file for ratification.

Officials said the four-year deal mirrors the agreements reached by Governor Corbett and the other statewide unions and includes changes to the health care plan. Details are to be released after the ratification process is complete.

The committee's chairman, Bloomsburg University math professor Steve Kokoska, said he anticipated a frank and open discussion.

If the committee endorsed the agreement with the State System of Higher Education, it would be presented Friday in Gettysburg to the union's legislative assembly, which could send it to the rank and file for ratification.

Faculty members have worked without a contract since June 2011, but an accord was struck early Sunday after two days of talks. Neither side would disclose details about the agreement.

Both sides had previously agreed on wage increases similar to those provided in contracts covering tens of thousands of other state employees, but health coverage had been among the stumbling blocks to a settlement.

The universities are in Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester. They enroll about 115,000 students.

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