Pa. Education System Reaches Agreement With Campus Officers

Harrisburg, Pa. — The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on Jan. 19 approved a new three-year agreement with its campus police and security officers that includes a one-year freeze on all salaries and wages, the suspension of some overtime payments and temporary elimination of shift differential for officers who work second and third shifts.

The new agreement with the Security, Police, Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA), which represents about 250 first-line supervisors and rank-and-file officers at the 14 PASSHE universities, also calls for the creation of separate labor-management committees to develop a new police specific performance evaluation form, new officer training recommendations and recommendations on ways the universities could share police services. The probationary period for newly hired officers will be extended from six months to a year.

“This agreement demonstrates an understanding by the union of the tough fiscal times we are facing and the need to make significant changes in the way we operate,” said PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Labor Relations Gary Dent. “It is the result of a collaborative effort that will allow us to improve services and to keep student success as our primary objective.”

“Although the talks were long and laborious due to the state budget, every effort was made to make a reasonable agreement that was fair to both sides,” said Thomas Hearn, chief negotiator for SPFPA and vice president of Local 502. “In the end we were able to achieve that and to maintain a good relationship.”

The agreement is retroactive to September 1, 2011, and runs through August 31, 2014. There are no general pay increases included, although officers will be eligible to receive wage increments of 2.25 percent each July. Shift differential will be eliminated in the first year of the contract. It will be restored to 25 cents an hour in November and to $1 an hour in November 2013.

The Board also ratified new agreements covering fewer than a dozen members of the Pennsylvania Social Service Union (PSSU) and Pennsylvania Doctors Alliance (PDA). Both of the agreements were negotiated by the Commonwealth.

Terms of the new four-year agreement with PSSU essentially mirror those included in a separate agreement also reached last year between the Commonwealth and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME is the state’s largest labor union and includes about 4,000 PASSHE employees, mostly clerical and maintenance staff. Both agreements include a one-year freeze on all salaries and wages, including service increments. General pay increases and service increments are included in the second, third and fourth years of the agreements.

The agreement with PDA is retroactive to July 1, 2009 and runs through June 30. Salary terms for the current year remain subject to negotiation. The agreement covers one full-time physician at Millersville University of Pennsylvania and one part-time physician at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

PASSHE is continuing to negotiate with labor unions representing its faculty and coaches; professional staff, including admissions, financial aid and student life officers; and its university health center nurses.

 The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with nearly 120,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study.  About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg.

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