With Finals starting today at the State System of Higher Education universities, the first of two scheduled negotiating sessions between the State System and its faculty union also takes place. The major question looming over the talks is whether or not APSCUF will call a strike before next month’s start of the spring semester.
The State System is seeking concessions on health care for current and retired faculty, a freeze on the wages paid to temporary faculty, and the continued implementation of a plan to phase out compensation for developing distance education courses.
The union says it will not accept a two-tiered wage scale for temporary faculty versus tenured or tenure-track faculty, has submitted its own – very different – plan for health care, and will not concede the distance education issue. In addition, APSCUF objects to the State System’s offer of a voluntary retirement incentive because it does away with the 25 percent cap on temporary faculty, meaning permanent faculty members could retire and the state could hire temporary faculty to replace them.
Neither sides seems willing to back away from their positions. After today’s session, there is another planned for December 19th.