The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

University faculty union APSCUF votes in favor of tentative contract


By Dan Clark, For Journal Register News Service

Monday, March 11, 2013

Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) voted in favor this week to ratify the tentative contract agreement that negotiators came to in February.
The vote began earlier this week and every member of the union which includes all 14 state universities and was counted in Harrisburg today and passed by a majority vote.
There is also a small pay increase for the next four years that follows a 0-1-1-2 pattern. Although according to an email sent by APSCUF president Steve Hicks, this pay increase does not keep up with the rise of inflation, but it was a concession that was necessary to move the negotiations forward.
The agreement also gives a chance for professors to have a say in their class size for certain courses, which according to Hicks has not happened in the past.
Part of the old contract which was redacted in the previous contract is that there will be health benefits for same-sex partners. Another issue was that of retiree health care which the state offered a voucher program for retirees and APSCUF responded with different options. There will be a future negotiation session to determine what the new contract says about retiree health care.
While the pay raises may be low and the union members will have to pay a little more in health care, Hicks believes that they’ve won in three areas of the contract: grievance, curriculum and retrenchment.
“The changes in grievance, curriculum, and retrenchment mean we have more opportunity for oversight and input than before,” Hicks wrote in an email to union members.
A special meeting has been called for March 20 in Harrisburg for a meeting with the board of governors to approve the agreement. At the same meeting, the board will consider a separate agreement with the athletic coaches.