Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculties (APSCUF) reached a tentative contract agreement on Monday.
The tentative contract was announced in a joint press release between the two organizations. The new contract, if approved by APSCUF, would start after the current contract expires on June 30, 2018 and would run until June 31, 2019.
“We have been committed to working together to achieve a new agreement in a collaborative manner,” said State System Interim Chancellor Dr. Karen M. Whitney in the press release that was released on Thursday. “As we move toward a positive conclusion for this contract, I’m hopeful it will lead to an even more meaningful relationship based on mutual respect and trust.”
“After our previous contract negotiations, we were determined to improve the overall negotiations process, and I am happy to report that our communication with the System vastly improved with these talks,” said APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash in the same press release. “We are happy that we were able to bypass the anxiety that has accompanied every previous contract negotiation in recent memory and that we can give our full attention to our students.”
Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the state system, said the contract would help catch APSCUF up to other unions that the state system bargain with in regards to contract deadlines and negotiations. Marshall said both sides were committed to working on the contract and reaching a settlement.
“We met for the first time in August and had just a couple of sessions and were able to reach a tentative agreement,” Marshall said.
Marshall said the next step is for APSCUF membership to vote on the contract, which, if ratified, will then go to the PA Board of Governors.
“It could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month or more,” Marshall said. “It really depends on how soon the union is able to get together and have its vote. Hopefully, we can reach a positive conclusion and move forward then have this contract in place for the next year and a half.”
Ben Shaevitz, SRU APSCUF president and physics professor, said the timing of the negotiations is good as it will give Whitney a chance to work without the distraction of the negotiations. Shaevitz said the two groups reaching the tentative agreement is positive and possibly a sign of not letting the contract expire again.
“There’s a lot of issues, a lot of discussions about all the kinds of things between APSCUF and the system so this is just one part of that big picture,” Shaevitz said.