Leadership of faculty union recommends approval of new State System contract

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The leadership assembly of the union representing faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities recommended today that a tentative contract with the State System of Higher Education be approved by the union's 5,500 members.

The vote will occur in early March on each of the 14 campuses statewide, including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities in western Pennsylvania, the union said following today's action.

The recommendation from the union's legislative assembly meeting in Gettysburg follows an announcement Monday that bargaining teams for both sides had reached a tentative four-year deal retroactive to July 1 2011.

The State System's board of governors also must vote on the deal.

About 115,000 students attend State System universities.

The pact resembles agreements the Corbett administration already has struck with other statewide unions, both sides have said. It freezes salary the first year, then gives increases in base salary of 1, 1 and 2 percent over the remaining three years, plus other payments based on seniority.

The contract contains such health care plan changes as increased co-pays for office visits, emergency room visits and prescription medications.

It eliminates a payment to faculty for developing distance courses but maintains a $25-per-student payment to faculty for teaching distance courses.

The tentative agreement, retroactive to 2011-12, would see pay frozen the first year. After that, faculty at the top of the pay scale -- ranging from $107,870 for full professors to $66,222 for instructors -- would see their base salary rise over the remaining three years by a total of 4 percent, plus yearly cash payments equivalent to 2.5 percent of their salary.

Base salaries would increase a total of 4 percent plus yearly service increments of 2.5 percent or 5 percent annually for members at all other scales, including the bottom scale that ranges from $44,795 for instructors to $72,967 for full professors, officials said.

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Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977.


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