Contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and its faculties began in mid-May ahead of the contract expirations in June.
According to a recent Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) press release, faculties and PASSHE met May 13 and 14 holding two interest-based bargaining (IBB) sessions. APSCUF describes IBB as a “collaboration instead of traditional exchange of contract proposals.”
“IBB is a supposed to be a better way to conduct the negotiations,” said Kara Laskowski, president of Shippensburg University's chapter of APSCUF.
Students attending state-owned universities in the fall will most likely not be impacted by another strike. The strike in October 2016 was a result of APSCUF members going without a contract since July 2015.
“We are still hoping for an on-time contract,” Laskowski said.
She praised Chancellor Dan Greenstein and the PASSHE Board of Governors for their cooperation in the process.
“The System Redesign has led us to take a fresh look at how we do everything, and that includes how we approach contract negotiations,” Greenstein said. “We have been happy to find the shared interests both sides have in many of the items we have discussed the first two days.”
The June 30 deadline might not be met. Laskowski, who was been working in the state system for 16 years, said the negotiations have never ended on time.
“We want to avoid striking,” said Laskowski said.
“So far, we are pleased with the process and the progress,” said APSCUF President Kenneth Mash in a press release. He continued, “We will continue to keep students in mind as we work on a contract that benefits them and our members."
The next IBB session will be June 19 at Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.