State System, faculty, fail to make progress in contract talks

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A six-hour negotiation session between the State System of Higher Education faculty and administration Wednesday ended without any progress being made toward a contract agreement.

"We are very disappointed and disheartened by the lack of progress at the table," Steve Hicks, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, said in a news release.

Mr. Hicks said the two sides entered the session prepared to continue through the night if progress was being made.

But, he said after several proposals about active and retiree health care and distance education were exchanged, the meeting was ended at 5 p.m. by the state system "without making any substantial progress." He said the negotiating team representing the state system chancellor promised to provide a new proposal before the next negotiating session, which is set for Feb. 1.

APSCUF members from the 14 state universities plan to attend the next state system board of governors meeting on Jan. 24 to express frustration over the lack of progress at the bargaining table. Union members have been working without a contract since June 30, 2011.

In November, professors voted to give their negotiators authority to call a strike on short notice. But Mr. Hicks said the union would consider a strike only as a last resort.

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