Faculty Negotiation Updates

March 20, 2013

PASSHE Board of Governors Ratifies Contracts with Faculty, Coaches New Labor Agreements run Through June 30, 2015

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors today ratified a pair of new collective bargaining agreements with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and

University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents both university faculty and athletic coaches.

The separate agreements, both of which run through June 30, 2015, were previously ratified by the members of the two bargaining units.

The new contracts include salary increases that essentially track those provided to other state employee unions, as well as changes in PASSHE’s health care plan and other workplace revisions that should produce both immediate and long-term savings for the State System. Eligible faculty and coaches will be given a one-time opportunity to participate in a retirement incentive program similar to that offered to all other PASSHE employee groups in 2010. They will have until March 29 to decide whether to take the incentive.

“The approval of these two contracts brings to a conclusion a more than two-year process, during which we successfully negotiated new agreements with all of our labor unions,” said Board Chairman Guido M. Pichini. “Throughout the process, we have been guided by our mission to continue to offer high quality, affordable education to our students. The Board appreciates the enormous amount of time and effort everyone involved put into this process.”

The new agreement with the faculty bargaining unit includes general pay increases of 1 percent each in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and 2 percent in 2014-15. Faculty also will receive either annual service increments of 2.5 percent or 5 percent in each of the three years as they move up the salary schedule or annual cash payments equivalent to 2.5 percent of their base salary if they already are at the top of the pay scale. About one-third of faculty receives the increments.

The new agreement with the coaches’ bargaining unit includes salary increases of 2.5 percent in 2012-13 and 2.25 percent in 2013-14, as well as performance-based merit pools of 3 percent each in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Coaches do not receive annual service increments. Minimum salaries for both head and assistant coaches will be increased effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Faculty will have higher co-payments for prescription drugs as well as for some office and emergency room visits, while coaches will make larger contributions to the cost of their healthcare premiums. PASSHE and APSCUF also will begin meeting no later than September to develop an optional defined contribution healthcare plan for future retirees.

The agreement with faculty includes $400,000 a year for faculty professional development, including for programs and activities specifically related to innovation in teaching and improvement of student learning outcomes.

“In the rapidly changing world of higher education, innovation is essential. We want to encourage such efforts among all of our faculty,” Mr. Pichini said.

The new contract eliminates the payments faculty currently receive for the development and re-development of distance education courses, including those offered online, while ensuring faculty have the technical support they need to make certain the courses are designed and delivered in a way that is most effective and best meets students’ needs.

The Board also approved a merit pool to cover potential increases for PASSHE’s approximately 1,400 non-represented employees in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15. Non-represented employees do not receive general pay increases. Any increases they receive are based on an evaluation of their job performance.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.

For more information contact, Kenn Marshall, PASSHE media relations manager, at 717-720-4054, or 717-329-0809 (cell), or kmarshall@passhe.edu www.passhe.edu.

February 3, 2013

PASSHE, APSCUF agree on framework for new faculty contract

Harrisburg - The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) have agreed to the framework for a new contract with the approximately 5,500 faculty at the 14 state-owned universities. More information will be made available as the ratification process continues.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.

January 31, 2013

PASSHE, APSCUF resume negotiations tomorrow

Harrisburg – Negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) resume tomorrow. PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent provided the following statement as the two sides prepare to meet:

“As we get set to return to the bargaining table tomorrow, we do so with a sense of cautious optimism that we are within reach of an agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come.

“PASSHE’s number one focus is protecting the interests of our students and their families who provide nearly three-fourths of the revenue needed to operate our universities. There is a limit to the amount of costs we can ask our students to absorb, especially in areas that are not directly related to the classroom.

“We have completed the compensation package portion of the agreement, which historically has been the last item in negotiations. There are, however, a small but significant number of issues yet to be resolved, including active and retiree healthcare, distance education and a new, optional plan for annuitant health care.

“As we have maintained throughout this more than two year process, increases in healthcare costs for both active and retired employees, combined with rapidly rising pension costs, are placing unsustainable financial pressure on the universities. In this regard, PASSHE is no different from the federal or state governments, or most other organizations, all of which have identified increasing costs in these areas as urgent problems that must be addressed.
“As we resume our negotiations tomorrow, we remain optimistic that we will resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to working together on what matters most – continuously enhancing the quality of education our students receive.”

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center.

January 25, 2013 TO: ESU Campus Community

To All ESU Warriors,

Greetings to all of you and welcome back to a new year and a new semester at East Stroudsburg University! My hope for all of you is that you are able to return to campus refreshed and excited about the challenging coursework and opportunities before you.

I recognize that some of you may be concerned about the status of the State System’s negotiations with the faculty union and how it may affect your return to campus or the beginning of the Spring Semester. I am writing to assure you that we are ready for your return and plan to be fully operational and ready for your arrival. To follow is some valuable information about campus operations to help you with your transition back to campus. Please know that these offices and services will remain open and available to you in the unfortunate event of a strike by the faculty; ESU will remain open and operational.

New student residents (transfers, freshman and readmits) may check in to all residence halls on Sunday, January 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. Students not new to the residence halls may move back into their rooms any time after noon on Sunday.

  • Meal plans begin on Sunday, January 27 with the evening meal. The P.O.D. in Dansbury Commons will open at 4 p.m. and the dining hall opens at 4:30. Late Night will also be open for students on Sunday and all other dining locations will open at the regular times on Monday, January 28.
  • Enrollment Services will be open in Zimbar on Sunday, January 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The department has extended hours on Mondays (January 28 and February 4) and Tuesdays (January 29 and February 5) opening at 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. These offices will return to their regular schedule (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) beginning on Wednesday, February 6.
  • The Mattioli Recreation Center will resume its normal business hours (10 a.m. to midnight) on Monday, January 28 and Rec. B (located on the Ground Floor of Hemlock Hall) will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., starting Monday as well.
  • Kemp Library will resume its operational schedule on Monday, January 28. To refresh your memory, those hours are: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • The University Store and the Convenience Store will be open on Sunday, January 27 from noon to 5 p.m. The University Store has extended its hours on Monday and Tuesday and will be open from 8 a.m. through 7:30 p.m.
  • The eCard Center will open on January 28 and will operate on its normal schedule, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Once you’ve settled in, I hope you’ll get involved in some of the many activities taking place around campus. Be sure to check out the ESU website for detailed information about athletic contests (esuwarriors.com), student events and activities (http://www4.esu.edu/insider/index.php/events/month/) and stay active and involved!

I hope this information is helpful to you. I’m looking forward to a great semester, filled with plenty of opportunities to keep all of you energized and inspired. Should there be a need to communicate about faculty negotiations or the impact of a possible strike, please know that my leadership team and I will do everything we can to keep you informed.

Certainly, I wish each and every one of you the best as you continue your educational journey at ESU.

Safe travels,

Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D. │ President

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

200 Prospect Street │East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
570-422-3546│Fax 570-422-3478

 

January 24, 2013 TO: ESU Campus Community

For release: Immediately
Contact: Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809
PASSHE Board of Governors Chairman issues statement on contract negotiations with faculty union

Harrisburg – Guido M. Pichini, chairman of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors, commented today on the status of contract negotiations between the State System and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents faculty at the 14 state-owned universities. Mr. Pichini made his remarks during the Board’s regular quarterly meeting.

Below is Mr. Pichini’s statement:

“As we prepare collectively for the start of the spring semester, I feel it is imperative that I address the topic most on everyone’s mind today – negotiations with our faculty union.

“First, let me reinforce the Board of Governors’ commitment to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the State System to continue to provide a quality education to our students for years to come.

“That has been our goal throughout this unprecedented process, during which we have negotiated with all of our unions in a single cycle. That has never happened before, and it has been extremely difficult.

“However, as everyone in this room likely is aware, we have been successful in achieving that goal with all of our unions, with the exception of the APSCUF bargaining unit that represents our university faculty.

“All of the agreements that have been reached to date have included an array of cost savings – in many cases, concessions – that have helped to offset the cost of wage and salary increases included in them.

“I want to personally thank each of those unions – and, even more important, their members – for recognizing the enormous challenges facing the State System and for partnering with us to achieve this success. I truly believe the sacrifices you made were essential to the long-term stability of our universities.

“All of us must remember why we are here – our students.

“The simple fact is without the cost savings we already have achieved through the agreements we have reached to date – and the additional savings we are seeking through the negotiations with APSCUF – the ability of our universities to continue to offer quality, affordable education would be – and is – seriously threatened.

“As difficult as these negotiations have been, we have been able to come to agreement with APSCUF on a number of very important issues, including wage and salary increases for virtually all faculty this year and in each of the next two years. Usually, that is the last area of agreement.

“There are only a small number of issues that have yet to be resolved, but they are significant. We cannot continue to incur the kinds of cost increases we have been experiencing; we must have cost savings.

“Healthcare represents an area where both cost savings and greater fairness to our employees can be achieved – and have been with our other unions.

“PASSHE is seeking to more closely align its healthcare plan with the plan offered by the Commonwealth to nearly 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet, as well as nearly one-third of all PASSHE employees.

“We have stated this goal repeatedly throughout these negotiations, and have been completely transparent on this matter, even placing a side-by-side comparison of the two plans on our public website.

“The unions representing both our university health center nurses and our campus police and security officers, whose members are covered by the PASSHE-run plan, have agreed to this concept; APSCUF continues to oppose it, without providing any response as to why this is not a reasonable request.

“The changes we have proposed not only would help ensure that virtually all PASSHE employees – including non-represented managers, administrators and executives – would receive the same level of benefits, but also would result in lower premiums for everyone in the plan.

“Most PASSHE employees covered by the plan – faculty, nurses, police and security officers and non-represented employees – pay either 15 percent or 25 percent of the total premium, depending on whether they participate in the System’s wellness plan.

“PASSHE currently pays more than $15,000 a year for family coverage under this plan, compared to $10,140 for family coverage under the Commonwealth’s plan. We must address that disparity, and we can begin to do so while ensuring greater fairness for all of our employees.

“We also must address the enormous financial obligation facing PASSHE in the area of annuitant healthcare, which, if allowed to continue unchecked, threatens the System’s viability. That obligation currently stands in excess of $1.4 billion, nearly the equivalent of PASSHE’s annual operating budget.

“The Board of Governors has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the fiscal integrity of the System. The vast majority of our costs – nearly 75 percent – are borne by our students and their families. I believe there is a limit to the amount of costs we can ask our students to absorb, especially in areas that are not directly related to the classroom.

“The change we have proposed in annuitant healthcare would begin to address these costs while providing future employees the option of choosing a defined contribution plan to cover their future healthcare expenses. Those employees – anyone hired after July 1, 2013 – still could choose the defined benefit plan, which currently is provided to all eligible retirees.

“The employee would have a choice of either plan, similar to the choice they have now when selecting a pension plan. APSCUF opposes this proposed change too, even though it would impact only future employees, and would provide those employees an additional choice while taking nothing away.

“These and other costs not related to the classroom are threatening to strip the universities of their ability to develop and offer the types of new programs students need – and even to maintain the ones they have now – and to modernize their academic facilities to ensure students receive the kinds of educational experiences necessary to assure their success.

“We must resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to working together on what matters most – continuously enhancing the quality of education our students receive.”

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.

 

January 21, 2013 TO: ESU Campus Community

By Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D., President of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

On January 28, we’ll be welcoming more than 7,000 students back to our campus and community for what hopes to be an exciting and productive spring semester. As our students begin a new year and a fresh start with a new class schedule, many will also look forward to catching up with their friends and classmates while working to achieve their educational goals. Regretfully, this time of great eagerness may be compromised by their concern as to whether or not their professors will be there to greet them.

As you may already know, contract negotiations continue between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). At ESU, we’ve made every attempt to keep our students and their families updated as talks continue. We want them, and our neighbors in the local community, to know that we periodically post updates about the negotiations on the university website (esu.edu/negotiations) for their convenience and to rest assured that we have a plan in place should a faculty strike occur.

Please know that PASSHE continues to do everything possible to ensure a strike will not occur. The leadership of the State System is committed to reaching an agreement that is not only fair to our faculty but also, and more importantly, to our students and their families who provide almost seventy five percent of the revenues for our universities through tuition and fees.

Clearly, a priority of these negotiations is seeking ways to offset increasing costs to the universities that ultimately impact our students and their families in tuition costs. PASSHE’s current compensation package for faculty, now on the table, is reasonable. It addresses two major concerns which are health care benefits we provide to both active and to retired employees. If we, as institutions, do not address these costs, they have the potential to negatively impact our ability to provide resources for our students and to improve and modernize our operations and course offerings that will ultimately influence student success.

At the bargaining table, PASSHE has offered a number of health care plan options to faculty, hoping they will consider adopting a plan that is comparable to the health care option currently available to the more than 80,000 employees of the Commonwealth (including Governor Corbett, his cabinet, and all PASSHE presidents). If accepted by APSCUF, the changes could result in lower premiums while ensuring that all PASSHE employees receive benefits comparable to those received by other state employees. APSCUF’s choice could benefit everyone.

The proposed change for APSCUF would not affect current employees but those new to PASSHE (hired after July 1, 2013), offering new APSCUF employees an optional health care account similar to the current option available for a retirement account. The change alone would help the State System address the more than $1.4 billion outstanding financial obligation in this area.

Like many other colleagues and peers, my hope is that there is a swift but fair resolution to these negotiations that will not negatively impact the cost of a PASSHE education. I am eager to get the focus back on our students at ESU in order to provide them with exemplary academic and life experiences. I look forward to continuing work with the faculty and staff as we continue to enhance our academic programs and build relationships in our local community to develop internship and job opportunities that will keep our graduates engaged and connected.

I want East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania to be the BEST university within the State System. We need a resolution of these negotiations so we can again focus on the future of ESU and our students.

 

January 11, 2013 TO: ESU Campus Community

SCUPA ratifies tentative agreement with PASSHE, negotiations continue with APSCUF

Harrisburg – Members of the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA) have “overwhelmingly” ratified a new contract with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.

“The members have spoken and overwhelmingly ratified the tentative agreement with PASSHE,” SCUPA President Frances C. Cortez Funk said today. “Our state negotiating team, SCUPA leadership and work with PSEA in representing our members' collective voice all have been validated through the ratification process.”

PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent expressed his appreciation to the members of SCUPA for their strong support for the new agreement, which, he said, “is fair to both parties.”

The tentative agreement will now go to the PASSHE Board of Governors for its approval.

Meanwhile, negotiations between PASSHE and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), the union that represents State System university faculty, resumed today, with the two sides continuing to make progress toward a settlement.

“While today’s bargaining session produced good progress on some key issues and PASSHE is hopeful of reaching a final agreement with APSCUF very soon, there are still several important items that remain unresolved,” Dent said.

Dent also responded to several inaccurate statements recently made by APSCUF leadership in relations to the continuing negotiations.

“First and foremost, all of our stakeholders should know that PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come,” he said. “As with the other agreements with our unions, it must include savings to offset a new compensation package. A key area for savings which remains unresolved is health care for active employees.

PASSHE spends nearly $75 million a year on healthcare for its faculty. If nothing is done to change PASSHE’s current healthcare plan, costs are projected to increase by about $7.5 million next year.

PASSHE pays more than $15,000 annually for family coverage under the healthcare plan it administers for active employees, compared to the $10,140 the state pays for coverage under the Commonwealth’s plan. PASSHE has proposed changes to the plan that would more closely align it with the state-run plan, which provides healthcare coverage for 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet.

“In addition to producing cost savings, the revisions PASSHE has proposed would ensure that all State System employees – faculty, health center nurses, campus police and security officers, clerical and maintenance staff, athletic coaches, managers, administrators and executives – would receive essentially the same level of benefits, a concept APSCUF has continued to oppose,” Dent said.

A related – and still unresolved issue – is the rapidly escalating cost of providing healthcare benefits for eligible retirees. PASSHE presented more detailed information on the transition to a defined contribution plan in an effort to address the systemwide $1.4 billion outstanding financial obligation, which threatens the system’s sustainability. The proposal would not impact any current retirees or current employees; it would be applied only to persons hired by the State System after July 1, 2013.

The issue is similar to the Commonwealth’s pension liability problem. As the governor’s budget secretary said recently: “Absent meaningful structural pension reform, the state’s General Fund budget is on a very predictable path that will force a choice between either fully funding pension obligations or making cuts to the core functions of government.”

“For PASSHE, the choice will be between agreement on annuitant health care reform or an inability to offer new programs and to continue to improve and modernize its educational offerings to assure students succeed at its universities,” Dent said.

Dent also expressed his concern about recent statements by APSCUF officials regarding a potential strike should an agreement not be reached. “No one would be served by such action, particularly our 115,000 students and their families,” he said.

“The simple fact is that we must resolve these issues quickly and fairly so that we can get back to focusing on how best to continuously enhance the quality of our universities’ academic programs as well as the educational experience of our students,” said Dent.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

 

January 3, 2013 TO: ESU Campus Community

PASSHE, APSCUF resume contract negotiations Friday

Harrisburg – Negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) resume tomorrow. PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent provided the following statement as the two sides prepare to meet:

“With the onset of the new year we are poised to return to the bargaining table, with the goal of reaching a settlement with our final bargaining unit, APSCUF. I thought it was important to provide a brief update on where things stand and discuss our path forward.

“First and foremost, all of our stakeholders should know that PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair, that is affordable and that positions the System to continue to provide a quality education for years to come.

“As we have in the agreements we have reached to date, our number one focus is protecting the interests of our students and their families who provide nearly three-fourths of the revenue needed to operate our universities. For PASSHE, that certainly means arriving at an economic package that permits us to remain competitive in our ability to recruit and retain talented faculty members; they are, after all, a critical element in PASSHE’s ability to provide a quality education. But we also need to find solutions to our ever-increasing costs in certain areas, which, if not addressed, will threaten the financial viability of our System.

“Increases in healthcare costs for both active and retired employees, combined with rapidly rising pension costs, are placing unsustainable financial pressure on the universities. In this regard, PASSHE is no different from the federal or state governments, or most other organizations, all of which have identified increasing costs in these areas as urgent problems that must be addressed. We have no alternative. We must agree to new approaches before these costs overwhelm the System.

“PASSHE’s 14 universities are facing incredible and ever-increasing competition; business as usual is simply unacceptable. Throughout these negotiations with APSCUF, we have been open and transparent about the challenges we collectively face, particularly in an environment of declining state funding support and our families’ limited ability to absorb any tuition increases.

“We are just now recovering from the worst economic environment since 1937, and higher education has not been immune to these challenges. Given the impact of the recession on the Commonwealth’s budget, PASSHE leadership is preparing to once again aggressively pursue state funding in the upcoming budget debate.”

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center.

 

December 19 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

PASSHE, APSCUF cancel bargaining session

Harrisburg – The bargaining session scheduled for today between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has been canceled by mutual agreement. The two sides plan to resume talks on January 4, with additional scheduled negotiations to follow.

“Our overriding concern, as it has been throughout these negotiations, is the cost to our students and their families,” said PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent. “Our students pay approximately 73 percent of the costs necessary to operate our universities through tuition and fees. Seventy-three cents of every $1 in increased costs resulting from this agreement would be borne by students and their families.

“We have made clear the essential elements we need in this agreement, which include cost savings to offset proposed salary increases; redesign of our health care plan to more closely align it with that offered to more than 80,000 state employees, including the Governor and his cabinet; and a plan to begin to address our annuitant health care costs. In its latest response, APSCUF rejected almost every element with the exception of levels of compensation.”

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

 

December 7 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

The end of the semester is fast upon us! I hope that you are feeling good about your ability to complete the academic work that remains before you during the next week. Soon you will leave your ESU home for a much deserved break.

I am writing today because I thought it was time to provide an update regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). I am pleased to report that APSCUF announced that it would not exercise its right to strike before completion of the Fall semester. While that may be common knowledge by now, it is important because APSCUF and the State System have two dates in December set for continuing negotiations. It is my hope that these negotiations will result in an acceptable outcome for the PASSHE, APSCUF, and most importantly, you as a stakeholder in our University.

It has come to my attention that APSCUF members at ESU have been asking students to participate in an email campaign to express their support of the faculty by corresponding with the Chancellor. In fact, students have been asked to send emails from multiple addresses in an attempt to deluge the Office of the Chancellor to demand that PASSHE be fair to the faculty. Dr. Cavanaugh has responded to every student who has expressed concern. He also directed the students’ messages to Dr. Tobin, so she can reply as well.

Please rest assured that the leadership team at East Stroudsburg University is here for you. We will listen to your concerns about negotiations, clarify what may seem to be confusing messages about the negotiations positions and process, and support your right to take whatever position you feel is appropriate with regard to these negotiations without coercion or penalty.

Some students are very concerned that faculty members have been emailing them directly and asking them to participate in this email campaign. I agree that this is not an action to be condoned, particularly as you are attempting to complete end of the semester requirements. What I will ask is that you continue to make an effort to understand the issues. Here are the web addresses for both PASSHE and APSCUF websites which detail the positions taken and the current offers under consideration. Know that you are well within your rights to make a choice to participate or not participate in the campaign.

PASSHE: http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/pnp/Pages/Negotiation_Updates.aspx
APSCUF: http://www.apscuf.com/

I wish you well as you complete your final assignments and exams. Congratulations to all of you who will be participating in the upcoming commencement exercises! I know you will represent East Stroudsburg well as you take up your professional work beyond the University. For those returning for the Spring semester, I hope you have a wonderful break and return to us refreshed and eager for the challenges ahead.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Sincerely,
Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.
President, East Stroudsburg University

 

December 5 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

Below is the op-ed article on the status of contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) was written by PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent:

PASSHE seeks to address cost savings, students’ needs in final union talks

 

November 20, 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

Dear ESU Students and Parents:

Thanksgiving is a season when many of us pause and reflect on all for which we are grateful. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your understanding and patience as contract negotiations continue with the faculty bargaining unit which, understandably, has caused many students and their families to be concerned about the future of their education.

Through this letter I want to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information available, relative to the ongoing talks between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

Last week, the leadership of APSCUF sought a vote of its membership on the 14 PASSHE campuses for a strike authorization vote. Last Friday afternoon, APSCUF announced that their membership, which includes ESU faculty, voted in favor of the authorization. I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THIS IS NOT A VOTE TO STRIKE but a vote that empowers the union chapter presidents at the universities to call a strike if they choose to do so. At ESU, 333 faculty are affected by the APSCUF vote.

Please know that PASSHE continues to do everything possible to ensure a strike will not occur. The leadership of the State System is committed to reaching an agreement that is not only fair to our faculty but also and more importantly to our students and their families who provide almost seventy five percent of the revenues for our universities through tuition and fees. PASSHE will continue to meet with APSCUF representatives at the bargaining table until a resolution is reached. At ESU, we have every intention of keeping the university open and operational while negotiations continue.

As we move forward and await details from APSCUF, you should know exactly what was offered in PASSHE’s last negotiation session with faculty leadership:

  • General pay increases of 1 percent each in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and 2 percent in 2014-15. The increases essentially mirror those included in earlier agreements reached with PASSHE’s other labor unions, including AFSCME. The proposal also includes annual step increases from 2.5 to 5 percent for those faculty advancing on the salary schedule and annual cash payments for those at the top of the pay scale, also similar to what is included in the other agreements.
  • A comparable salary schedule for full-time, temporary faculty, with a freeze at current salary levels for part-time temporary faculty (there are 72 temporary full-time and part-time faculty members at ESU).
  • Final phase out of incentive payments to faculty instituted in 1999 for the development of distance education courses. The payments were intended to encourage the development of online courses, which were virtually non-existent at the time. Today, hundreds of courses—even entire programs—are being offered online and via other methods of distance education. The incentives have been effective and are no longer necessary.
  • Modifications to the PASSHE managed healthcare plan to align it more closely with the plan offered by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF), which covers more than 80,000 state employees, including about one-third of all PASSHE employees. The revisions would produce premium cost savings for both PASSHE and PASSHE employees covered by the plan.
  • A one-time reopening of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program that PASSHE offered to all employee groups approximately two years ago. APSCUF refused to allow its members to participate in the program when it was first offered; all other employee groups took part, producing annual savings to the State System of approximately $10 million.
  • Cost savings are critical for PASSHE in these negotiations – these savings affect YOU and your college experience. Based on State budget cuts and other significant declines in revenue that previously supported the public university system, we cannot continue to ask our students to bear the burden of increased tuition without shared responsibility among all of us who teach and work for State System institutions. PASSHE is not seeking anything from its APSCUF membership that it has not asked of others. For example, the request for cost-saving measures relative to healthcare are similar to those PASSHE has negotiated in agreements with all of its other labor unions.

If you have any questions of concern about the information above or the process going forward, I have asked Dr. Doreen Tobin, Vice President for Student Affairs, to serve as the ESU contact for students and parents. You may contact her at (570) 422-3463 or dtobin@esu.edu. For the most recent updates on negotiations, I encourage you to visit the ESU website (www.esu.edu/negotiations) as well as PASSHE’s homepage (http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/pnp/Pages/Negotiation_Updates.aspx).

Thank you for making time during this busy holiday season to read this important message. I wish you and your family a wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving and I look forward to a swift and fair resolution of these negotiations.

Sincerely,
Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.
President , East Stroudsburg University

 

November 9, 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

For release: Immediately
Contact: Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) have been engaged in collective bargaining for nearly two years. The two sides met again today, during which PASSHE presented a comprehensive proposal that contained the following major components:

  • General pay increases of 1 percent each in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and 2 percent in 2014-15. The increases essentially mirror those included in earlier agreements reached with PASSHE’s other labor unions, including AFSCME. The proposal also includes annual step increases for those faculty advancing on the salary schedule and annual cash payments for those at the top of the pay scale, also similar to what is included in the other agreements.
  • A comparable salary schedule for full-time, temporary faculty, with a freeze at current salary levels for part-time temporary faculty.
  • Final phase out of incentive payments instituted in 1999 to faculty for the development of distance education courses. The payments were intended to encourage the development of online courses, which were virtually non-existent at the time. Today, hundreds of courses—even entire programs—are being offered online and via other methods of distance education. The incentives have been effective and are no longer necessary.
  • Modifications to the PASSHE managed healthcare plan to align it more closely with the plan offered by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF), which covers more than 80,000 state employees, including about one-third of all PASSHE employees. The revisions would produce premium cost savings for both PASSHE and PASSHE employees covered by the plan.
  • A one-time reopening of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program that PASSHE offered to all employee groups approximately two years ago. APSCUF refused to allow its members to participate in the program when it was first offered; all other employee groups took part, producing annual savings to the State System of approximately $10 million.
  • PASSHE is committed to achieving a new collective bargaining agreement with APSCUF that is fair to everyone, especially to our students and their families who currently provide nearly two-thirds of the revenue needed to operate the universities. It is essential PASSHE achieve cost savings in any new agreement, as it has in all of the agreements with all of its other labor unions.

For more detailed information on PASSHE’s current proposals, including a comparison of benefits provided by the current PASSHE healthcare plan, the proposed changes to the plan and benefits provided by the PEBTF plan, go to the PASSHE website at www.passhe.edu and click on “Contract Negotiations Updates.”

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with nearly 120,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

 

October 23, 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

Colleagues,

With the support of Dr. Nancy Van Arsdale, president of the ESU Chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty (APSCUF), I remind everyone that it is important for us all to continue to work together to ensure a positive educational environment for our students. Time spent discussing the strike vote and/or any issue related to negotiation of the APSCUF contract should not be discussed in the classroom. Instead, we emphasize that faculty will remain committed to ensuring their classes are focused on the academic material in the respective syllabi.

Thank you.

Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.
President

 

October 20, 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community

Thank you for visiting this website. Please visit this webpage (www.esu.edu/negotiations) or the PASSHE website at (www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/Pages/News-Home.aspx) for future updates.

 

October 20, 2012 TO: ESU Campus Community


This notice is to provide everyone on our campus with the most current information about Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) negotiations with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). APSCUF leaders met on Saturday, October 20 in a Special Legislative Assembly, and during the meeting they gave the authorization for a strike vote to be taken among the membership. It is important for you to know that this is NOT A VOTE TO STRIKE. It is a step in the process that must be taken before a strike vote actually could be taken by faculty on all 14 campuses. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for October 22, November 2, and November 9. For more information on what this means to you, please visit www.esu.edu/negotiations.

Additional information may be found on the PASSHE website at: http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/Pages/News-Home.aspx and on the APSCUF website at: http://www.apscuf.com.

 

October 19, 2012

This site has been established by East Stroudsburg University to provide the latest information regarding contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). The faculty union is one of seven units that has a collective bargaining agreement with PASSHE. Agreements have been reached with six units to date.

It is the hope of PASSHE and East Stroudsburg University that the faculty contract will be resolved well in advance of any labor action. In the event of a labor action, East Stroudsburg University has a strike contingency plan that would be put in place. Ultimately, it is our primary concern to ensure our students continue moving toward their degrees.

The leadership of APSCUF is holding a legislative council meeting on Saturday, October 20. It is our understanding the faculty union’s leadership may seek approval for a strike authorization vote action from APSCUF’s legislative assembly. It is important for you to know that this is NOT A VOTE TO STRIKE. It is a step in the process that must be taken before a strike vote actually could be taken.

For more specific information about negotiations, you may send your questions to negotiations@esu.edu or visit www.esu.edu/negotiations It is important that we all continue to work to ensure a positive educational environment for you.

The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for October 22, November 2, and November 9. Additional information may be found on the PASSHE website at: http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/Pages/News-Home.aspx and on the APSCUF website at: http://www.apscuf.com.

 

Oct. 17 - Sent on Behalf of Karen Ball – TO: Board of Student Government Presidents

I have heard from a number of you today requesting guidance on the status of negotiations between the State System and APSCUF, our faculty union.

First, please allow me to provide you with some background information. PASSHE employees are represented by seven separate labor unions. We have reached final or tentative agreements with six of them. In fact, we announced a tentative agreement with SCUPA today, the union which represents admissions, financial aid, residence life, and other student support services. Each of the settled contracts is structured to assure that any new costs incurred are offset as much as possible with savings through redesigned health care benefits or changes in how work is done.

APSCUF’s most recent contract with PASSHE expired on June 30, 2011. In the absence of a new contract, the faculty has been working under the terms of the old contract. That means no salary increases, changes in benefits, etc. There is no timeline on how long this situation can continue.

We are very mindful of the fact that nearly three-fourths of the revenues for your university come from tuition and fees, with the remainder covered by our annual state appropriation. We are also aware that many of our students and their families are finding it difficult to pay for increases in those costs.

APSCUF recently requested that we enter into binding arbitration to reach a final agreement on a new contract. What that would mean is a neutral third party would be appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to decide the terms of the contract. We denied this request because of our major concern that the neutral party would not be bound to consider the financial ability of PASSHE to pay for its decisions. We also believe the negotiating process works.

That brings us to this week. You should have received a message from the Chancellor’s Office yesterday that contains information about the PASSHE and APSCUF current bargaining positions. Your university contact and/or the Office of the Chancellor will update you as events change.

We have asked the university presidents to designate a contact person to be available to answer questions. Please see a list of the university contacts at the end of this message. We will provide the remaining contact information as soon as it is available. I encourage you to reach out to these contacts to help you in responding to questions you might get from your fellow students. You also can refer other students to these individuals so they may speak with them directly.

The leadership of APSCUF is holding a legislative council meeting on Saturday. It is our understanding that there might be a strike authorization vote taken at that meeting. It is important for you to know that this is NOT A VOTE TO STRIKE. It is a step in the process that must be taken before a strike vote actually could be taken. The next bargaining sessions are scheduled for October 22, November 2, and November 9.

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Karen Ball
Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
717-720-4053
kball@passhe.edu

East Stroudsburg University’s student contact – Dr. Doreen Tobin – VP for Student Affairs – dtobin@esu.edu

 

10/17 news release from PASSHE: PASSHE, SCUPA reach tentative agreement on new contract

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the State College and University Professional Association (SCUPA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that would run through June 30, 2015.

Both parties said they believe the tentative agreement, which was reached yesterday, is a fair one and will recommend its ratification. SCUPA members will vote on the tentative agreement first, followed by the PASSHE Board of Governors.

Once ratified by each side, the agreement will allow PASSHE and its employees to continue to provide high quality support and services to the State System’s nearly 115,000 students, officials said. In announcing the tentative agreement, SCUPA leaders recognized the prior work done by the late Marc Kornfeld on the negotiations that led up to their successful conclusion.

SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania. The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

 

10/15 Letter from the Chancellor

October 15, 2012

Dear Dr. Hicks:

Thank you for your letter of September 25, 2012. After a review of your request for binding arbitration, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) must decline your offer. Under the provisions of PASSHE’s enabling legislation, Act 188, the Board of Governors and I have fiduciary and legal duties to assure that the system is operated in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner. We believe it would be improper to delegate those responsibilities to a third party arbitrator who does not have the responsibility or duty to consider the financial implications of their decisions and who is not obligated to take into account the interests of Pennsylvania taxpayers or the long-term effects of those decisions on the Commonwealth or PASSHE. We also considered the following in making our decision:

  • Based on our ability to reach agreements with five of our bargaining units, we remain committed to the negotiating process.
  • We fully endorse our proposal presented at the October 5th bargaining session which contains the following elements:
  • Salary increases consistent with the Commonwealth pattern established with the AFSCME bargaining unit as well as step increments for faculty moving up the salary schedule, annual cash payments for faculty at the top of the pay range, and an increase in compensation for summer employment. In addition, the proposal provides summer, winter and overload compensation tied to the current academic year’s salary structure.
  • Modifications to the PASSHE health care plan to make it more aligned with the PEBTF benefit plan. Membership in PEBTF includes 80,000 Commonwealth employees including the Governor and other executive branch personnel and almost 4,300 of 12,700 PASSHE employees.
  • Realignment of pay for temporary faculty to better reflect regional rates at other higher education institutions while assuring that PASSHE universities remain competitive employers.
  • Final phase-out of the distance education incentive payments originally inserted into an agreement in 1999. PASSHE distance education programs and online courses have significantly grown since that time, and far more faculty have the requisite skills to revise a course, which negate the need for the original concept.
  • A proposal to shift to a defined contribution model of funding retiree health benefits for future new hires only, similar to the model recently adopted by Penn State. This is necessary to begin to address the growing retiree health care liability which currently is $1.4 billion.
  • Offer to reopen the one-time retirement incentive program offered to eligible employees in 2010 if the successor collective bargaining agreement is ratified by APSCUF members by December 31, 2012.

PASSHE believes that the collective bargaining process is the best way to reach an agreement and we remain committed to reaching a fair and affordable contract.

Dr. John C. Cavanaugh

Chancellor



For more information:

 

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