After 22 months of stressful negotiations, the faculty of Pennslyvania’s 14 state schools has voted to accept the proposed contract with the State System of Higher Education. William E. Fulmer, state APSCUF President, said that, “this vote was a difficult one for faculty. Those voting against ratification named as the primary reasons the loss of an incremental step for junior faculty this year and management’s cavalier disregard for equity for 128 newly promoted junior faculty members.”
In spite of these reasons, 72 percent, or 2,395 votes went to ratification, while only 929 opposed. After being considered by the SSHE Board of Governors, the contract will be in effect until June 30, 2007.
Dr. Linda Myrsiades, West Chester University’s local APSCUF President, commented that, “we [APSCUF] were able to stand up on academic issues that ensure a quality education, something we can continue to exercise influence on through the Governor’s new Committee [on Class Sizes], on which we will have full representation and which is an added side-benefit of this contract.”
Myrsiades also stated that “this contract will be very difficult for a faculty that is trying to recruit quality instructors, that is operating under working conditions that make for very heavy workloads, and that will have to absorb considerable health care expenses that will eat into any pay increases in the contarct…this faculty exercised great restraint in exhausting all possible alternatives to a strike, an approach that was taken to prevent disruption to the education of over 100,000 state students and to protect our 14 campuses from the devastating effects of what would have been a bitter labor action with significant long-term consequences. It takes a strong faculty to make that kind of commitment.”
Fulmer asserted, “The majority supported ratification because the proposed contract does preserve our influence on quality issues and insures that the academic interests of faculty members and students are protected…I believe that this is the best bargain we could achieve at this time, and we are grateful to Governor Rendell for helping to bring it about.”