Negotiations are scheduled to continue after the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the union that represents faculty at its 14 universities made progress toward but did not actually reach an agreement Friday, according to PASSHE.
“The parties reached several tentative agreements affecting compensation,” said the Association of Pennsylvania State College & University Faculty blog. “Other discussion centered on distance education, curriculum committees, and class size.
“Although there has been progress, there remain significant divides on these issues and active and retiree health care. The parties meet again on Jan. 16. In the interim, the faculty continue to prepare for all contingencies.”
In the fall, APSCUF members authorized their negotiators to call a strike if they deem it necessary.
PASSHE said it spends nearly $75 million a year on health care for its faculty and, without changes, costs are projected to increase by about $7.5 million next year.
PASSHE also reported that the cost of providing health care benefits for eligible retirees is rapidly escalating, and it 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 would be applied only to people hired by the state system after July 1, 2013.
In related news, PASSHE announced Friday that members of the State College and University Professional Association “overwhelmingly” ratified a new contract, which will now go to the PASSHE Board of Governors for its approval. SCUPA represents approximately 600 admissions, financial aid, residence life and other student support services officers on the 14 PASSHE campuses.