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Pa. university officials, faculty resume contract talks

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:06:08 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 04 2013 04:16:48 PM CST

Pennsylvania higher education officials have resumed negotiations with the union representing state university faculty.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Pennsylvania higher education officials have resumed negotiations with the union representing state university faculty.

The two sides met Friday for the first discussions since Dec. 11.

Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties have been working without a contract for about 18 months.

Bargaining has stalled over issues including pay for part-time instructors, health care benefits and compensation for online education. The union has authorized its leadership to call a strike.

Officials with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education said they need to control costs during tight economic times.

“We are just now recovering from the worst economic environment since 1937, and higher education has not been immune to these challenges," said Gary Dent, PASSHE's vice chancellor for human resources and labor relations. " Given the impact of the recession on the commonwealth’s budget, PASSHE leadership is preparing to once again aggressively pursue state funding in the upcoming budget debate.”

The universities serve about 120,000 students on 14 campuses. There has never been a faculty strike.

The state-owned universities are Kutztown, Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania.