Faculty union asks for arbitration in contract talks with state schools

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Oct 1, 2012 4:00 AM

collegehatsmall.jpg(Undated) -- The union for faculty at the 14 state-owned universities is asking for an outside arbitrator to settle a long-running contract dispute.

More than 6,000 professors and coaches with the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties have been working without a contract for 14 months.

State System of Higher Education spokesman Ken Marshall says negotiations have gone on even longer.

"We've been in negotiations with the union for almost two years," Marshall says, "and there additional sessions scheduled to cover a number of remaining outstanding issues."

Union Vice President Ken Mash says the system has recently signed agreements with other labor groups that could serve as a model.

"Those AFSCME employees got very modest increases, very modest concessions. That's the kind of deal we think is essentially fair," Mash says.

He says health care costs for current workers and retirees are a major issue in the negotiations.

The union is asking for binding arbitration by October 15.

The state system includes Millersville, Shippensburg, Bloomsburg and Kutztown universities.

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