With another round of negotiations scheduled today between the State System of Higher Education and APSCUF, the faculty union at the state-owned universities, the chairman of the union’s negotiating team says a strike may be coming for one simple reason: in the words of East Stroudsburg professor Ken Mash, “the chancellor and his representatives…have not dealt fairly with the union.”
Mash says Governor Corbett was “fair to both taxpayers and employees” when the state negotiated contracts with its other public sector unions, but State System Chancellor John Cavanaugh started their contract talks “with 36 proposals attacking virtually every section of the faculty contract” that expired in 2011.
Mash accuses Cavanaugh of turning down the union’s offer to continue working under terms of the expired contract, rejecting binding arbitration and concessions that he says would save the State System “millions” of dollars. He also accuses Vice Chancellor Gary Dent of claiming he is responsible for the State System’s bargaining positions, but not participating in the negotiations. He says Dent is never at the table and has appointed another level of bureacrats to handle the talks while he sits, “in the comfort of his office.”
After today, the two sides are scheduled to meet again tomorrow, with the spring semester just twelve days away.