State universities, faculty close in on new contract
Negotiators for Pennsylvania's state-owned university system and the union representing about 5,500 faculty members say they have reached a “framework” for a new contract to resolve a prolonged dispute.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties said the accord with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education was reached early Sunday after two full days of negotiating.
“I think both sides are satisfied with the framework that was laid out, and it's a matter of each side just going through the approval process,” said Mark Staszkiewicz, president of the union's chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a professor in the university's department of educational and school psychology.
Staszkiewicz is a member of the union negotiating committee.
The union said the framework “largely mirrors” agreements with other statewide unions, and offered no details pending a Monday evening vote by its negotiations committee. The system said more information would be released as the ratification process continues.
Members have been working without a contract at the 14 state-owned universities since June 2011, and members had authorized a strike if necessary. In Western Pennsylvania, the state-owned schools include IUP, Slippery Rock and California University of Pennsylvania.
“We understood that a strike was not good for anyone, neither faculty nor students,” said Ramesh Soni, vice president of the union's chapter at IUP.
Soni, chair of the management department at IUP's Eberly College of Business and Information Technology, said the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has in the past not made good-faith efforts to negotiate, but that changed.
“The most recent negotiation session ... they hunkered down, both sides were going and negotiations worked out nicely,” Soni said.
Both sides had agreed on wage increases based on the state-employee contracts, but issues such as health care, class sizes and distance learning have been sticking points.
The union said the system was making unreasonable demands for concessions on health coverage and other issues. State System officials said concessions were necessary to ensure affordable, quality education
The universities have about 115,000 students. They are in Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Trib Total Media staff writerTory N. Parrish and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bishop Zubik visits Mooncrest Community Center
- Former Pittsburgh mayoral candidate sentenced to prison for bogus 911 calls
- Police looking for man who sexually assaulted Squirrel Hill woman
- Pittsburgh considering legislation to ban drone activity from city parks, playgrounds
- 30 federal prisoners in W.Pa. on list for early release; 27 in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh’s North Shore traffic gets critical look
- Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission meeting on plans for work on area near Pittsburgh short on details
- Former employee at Plum home-building firm charged with embezzling nearly $200K
- Sky’s not the limit: Pirate Parrot takes trip into Earth’s atmosphere
- Pittsburgh to gauge level of city contracts going to minority, women-, veteran-owned businesses
- Fans connect with their beloved Pirates through homemade signs