Negotiators return to the bargaining table today, with the State System of Higher Education expressing “a sense of cautious optimism” that a deal can be reached with APSCUF, the faculty union at the state-owned universities. The union is less optimistic.
Vice Chancellor Gary Dent says there is agreement with the union on the compensation package but there are still significant issues to be resolved, listing active and retiree healthcare and distance education, plus what he calls “a new, optional plan for annuitant health care.” He does not elaborate on the new plan, which will be discussed today. The union said when talks broke off two weeks ago that the State System had promised a “new comprehensive proposal before” today’s scheduled negotiations.
Yesterday, APSCUF announced a statement of support from the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, a national support group for university faculty members. The group called on the State System to negotiate a contract parallel to others resolved by the state, re-focus its resources on instruction, and “fight aggresively for increased public funding”.