Faculty, Pa. State Colleges Locked In Contract Dispute

Ann McClure's picture

With fall classes approaching, Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities and roughly 6,000 unionized faculty remain locked in what an official says is now the longest unresolved teaching contract dispute in the State System of Higher Education's history.

To date, there has been no call for a strike, nor any sign that the Aug. 27 start of the semester is in jeopardy for the nearly 120,000 students expected on campuses that include California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, both sides have been without a contract since June 30, 2011, and growing impatience was evident after a union announcement that it was suspending scheduled contract talks this week with management "to allow the parties time to thoughtfully review their positions."

In a statement posted on its website, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties blamed what it said was the State System's unwillingness to offer APSCUF members the same economic package Gov. Tom Corbett offered to other statewide unions unless faculty "were willing to accept 'substantial' reductions to health care benefits and the elimination of compensation for developing, presenting and updating distance education courses."

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