Feb. 2 offered little to members of SCUPA, even though the State College and University Professionals Association, was long awaiting the meeting with PASSHE, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Unfortunately, not a lot came out of this meeting.Assistant director for the Career Development Center and the president of SCUPA on campus, Phil Tripp, said, “The short version [of the meeting] is that there was no movement on issues of substance, and we are no closer on a contract.”
The SCUPA negotiating teammet with the PASSHE team at the Dixon Center, where mediator Phil Overton assisted with the meeting.
During the meeting, several topics were covered. One topic that is very important to SCUPA members is the preservation of the bargaining article in the contract. PASSHE is still demanding to use language in the contract that will allow outsourcing of SCUPA positions.
Ray Bazylak, president of the entire SCUPA organization, and Merris W. Harvey, Chief SCUPA Negotiator, said, “In other wordsthe system [PASSHE] would not outsource our positions unless, in its wisdom, it decides to do so. SCUPA cannot agree to the demand.”
Pay grade issues were also brought to the negotiating table with no resolve. PASSHE reopened the issue because of SCUPA?s recent decision to deny PASSHE?s request to hire new state university administrators above the minimum may grade.
Health insurance was also a topic of discussion. The agreement made between PASSHE and SCUPA is that SCUPA members will remain with their current insurance plan supported by the Pennsylvania Benefits Trust Fund (PEBTF) until the time of retirement when they will then move to the PASSHE?s annuitant?s health insurance program. SCUPA came to this agreement with the PASSHE after careful analysis of the request. The issue of the length and term of the contract was also discussed.
The PASSHE wants to propose a contract that will last four years with a wage re-opener during the fourth year. SCUPA is unwilling to agree to a contract that does not address salary issues for each year of the contract.
The two teams agreed to end the negotiating session late in the afternoon on Wednesday, Feb. 2, even though most issues were still not resolved.
According to both Bazylak and Harvey, the SCUPA team is going to attempt to fashion a counter proposal that will move negotiations “beyond the current sticking point of outsourcing.” Once SCUPA has established a counter proposal, they will contact PASSHE in order to set up the next date for negotiations.
SCUPA?s negotiating team is planning to meet with the SCUPA Executive Committee on Sunday, Feb. 13, 2005, in order to review the negotiations and plan future actions.
This meeting will be held at the Pennsylvania Student Education Association, or PSEA, location in Mechanicsburg. The SCUPA negotiation team is thankful for all the SCUPA members? support and SCUPA will continue to post updates on their Web site, www.homestead. com/scupa. Bazylak and Harvey encourage SCUPA members and all others interested in SCUPA?s efforts to visit the Web site and direct questions to them via e-mail.