PASSHE and APSCUF agree on framework for new contract

The 14 chapter presidents for APSCUF unanimously voted to pass the framework for a new faculty contract last week.

Negotiators from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty (APSCUF) and from the Pennsylvania Association of State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) worked on the contract over two days of negotiations and came to a consensus for a framework, which will be similar to those that Governor Tom Corbett settled with other Pennsylvania state unions.

According to press manager of PASSHE, Kenn Marshall, the part of the contract that mirrors the other state union contracts is the increase in pay rate.

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“It will be a zero percent increase for the first year, which was last year, a one percent increase for this year, a one percent increase for next year and a two percent increase for the final year of the contract.”

Dr. Dan Speigel of the Kutztown University chapter of APSCUF said that the outline for the contract is much better than he expected.

“They will eventually phase out the extra stipend that teachers get for creating online classes,” Spiegel said.

However, teachers will be receiving technical support and instructional design professionals to assist with any problems that come with creating and running an online class.

One of the issues was healthcare.

“We are going to have to pay a little more in healthcare,” Spiegel said.

Another big issue was that of retiree healthcare. Where PASSHE and APSCUF could not agree was that there would be a voucher program for new hires rather than the current system of retiree healthcare. The framework states that there will be a future negotiation held that defines a voluntary retiree healthcare plan.

There will also be coverage for domestic partners available to annuitants, which was redacted from the old contract due to a language error.

For the first time, class size plays a part in the framework for the contract. The framework agreement states that the curriculum committees at each university will make a decision on class size.

From Feb. 5 to 7, the legislative assembly of APSCUF voted on the framework and passed it through.

“It was overwhelmingly supported by our leadership,” APSCUF Communications Director, Lauren Gutshall said.

Now that it has passed through the assembly the vote goes to the faculty at all 14 state schools. Faculty will vote on the contract on March 4, 5 and 6 and the votes will be counted in Harrisburg on March 8.