Faculty union members at SU and the other 13 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), who have been working without a contract since July 2011, are voting this week to authorize a strike.
Unionized faculty, athletic coaches and athletic directors from SU have been turning out at the Ezra Lehman Memorial Libraryto cast their votes. Voting will conclude on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and the votes of all 14 schools will be sent to Harrisburg to be counted.
If the faculty vote to authorize a strike, the strike will not immediately take effect, but Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) will have the authority to call a strike at any time.
The voting is coming after adjustments made last week in PASSHE’s contract proposal. The adjustments include general pay increases of 1 percent in 2012-13 and 2013-14, and 2 percent in 2014-15; a modified healthcare plan, similar to that offered by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF); adjustments to allow full-time, temporary faculty to stay on the same salary schedule as regular faculty with a pay freeze for part-time, temporary faculty; a final phase-out of incentive payments for distance education courses as online courses and classes become more common and a one-time reopening of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program that PASSHE offered to all employee groups two years ago that APSCUF members did not then take part in.
“They were steps in the right direction,” president of the SU chapter of APSCUF, Brendan Finucane said in regard to PASSHE’s proposal adjustments. He said PASSHE started negotiating more as the threat of a strike looms, and these adjustments should give students peace of mind.
Collective bargaining is scheduled to continue between PASSHE and APSCUF on Dec. 11 in Harrisburg and Dec. 19 in Philadelphia.