State-owned university faculty to vote on accord

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Thousands of faculty members at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities will be voting later this month on a tentative contract agreement finalized last week.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties said votes will be held on the 14 campuses between Nov. 11 and Nov. 13, and the votes will be tallied in Harrisburg. If a majority of the approximately 5,500 members vote in favor of ratifying the pact, it will go to the board of governors of the State System of Higher Education for approval.

Details of the accord, which would run through June 2023, will be released after ratification. The pact would replace a one-year contract that expired June 30 for faculty at the universities, which nearly 96,000 students attend.

In 2016, contentious bargaining resulted in a classroom strike lasting three days, the first in the system's history. Negotiations this time proceeded quietly, with union president Kenneth Mash calling the talks "productive and collaborative" and system chancellor Daniel Greenstein praising union leaders for "trust and teamwork we have established to help solve our shared challenge."

Last month, system officials asked the commonwealth for $100 million over five years for changes including an expanded online learning system and steps to share and consolidate services, measures intended to address enrollment and financial problems over the past decade.

APSCUF represents about 5,000 faculty at the state system universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania. The union also represents coaches at the universities who are still in contract talks.