HARRISBURG — The board chairman of Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities and a union leader speaking for 6,000 faculty members on Thursday each accused the other side of being unreasonable in their stalled contract negotiations.
Hundreds of protesting educators, including many who rode buses from distant campuses, waved placards and chanted Contract Now! outside the State System of Higher Education headquarters while the system's board of governors held its quarterly meeting.
Dozens of faculty members left the picket line to attend the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting that was devoted to the contract talks.
Kenneth Mash, vice president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and the head of its negotiating team, said the system is demanding concessions on health care coverage from APSCUF that state-employee unions did not have to make in approving contracts for tens of thousands state workers in 2011.
The fact is that your negotiators have never been fair with us, and no number of op-ed pieces, press releases or public statements emanating from this building will change that fact, Mash told the board.
Board Chairman Guido Pichini said the system is trying to more closely align health benefits for university employees with those provided to state employees.