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Hon. Brad Roae
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Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
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  broae@pahousegop.com

State Universities’ Union Contract Must be Fair
10/19/2012
College students and their parents continue to struggle as the economy recovers from the Great Recession. Tuition rates continue to increase while family budgets are on the decline.

At the same time these families are being forced to cut back, some professors at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities received 28 percent pay increases in a three-year period under the last union contract.

Don’t just take my word for it. To see for yourself, visit my website at www.RepRoae.com, where I have a link at the top of the page that takes you to the salary schedules.

In the fall of 2007, a professor on the bottom step of the “Q04” pay grade made a little more than $66,000. One year later, when that same professor moved up to step two, he or she made more than $71,500, or 8 percent more. Another year later and after moving up to step three, the same professor was given another nearly 8 percent raise and paid more than $77,000. One year later, the professor would realize a 9 percent salary hike and be paid nearly $84,500 at step four.

To recap, in three years, professors could go from making $66,000 to nearly $84,500, which is a 28 percent raise. In just three years, those professors saw a pay increase of more than $18,000. Again, don’t take my word for it. The yellow highlighted numbers on my website take you through the steps so that you can see it for yourself.

At Edinboro University alone, there are more than 90 employees being paid more than $100,000 per year. Professors received a $1,750 “signing bonus” on the first day of the prior union contract.

At the state-owned universities, a professor is considered full-time if he or she teaches 12 hours per week. Union presidents at the 14 state-owned universities only have to teach nine hours per week, but they still receive their full salary. The children, spouses and same-sex partners of professors are entitled to free tuition.

At any given time, 7 percent of professors can be on sabbatical, which means they are not in the classroom teaching their students, but continue to receive 100 percent of their salary and benefits. While out on sabbatical, professors continue to accrue paid sick days and, when they retire, they get paid for unused sick days.

Approximately 80 percent of the PASSHE budget goes to pay for salaries and benefits for employees, so the various union contracts are critical in determining the system’s expenses. When state-owned universities raised tuition by 3 percent – which is more than the rate of inflation – it is safe to assume that approximately 80 percent of that tuition hike went to pay for the salaries and benefits described above.

To carry this a step further, 80 percent of student loan debt carried by PASSHE students is to pay for salaries and benefits for employees at state-owned universities. And, importantly for state taxpayers, 80 percent of the state appropriation for PASSHE universities goes to pay for salaries and benefits for the same employees.

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) – the union that represents PASSHE professors – may go on strike in the near future and it’s safe to assume they will be demanding a “fair” contract. What APSCUF considers to be “fair” and what tuition payers and taxpayers consider to be “fair” may be drastically different.

Based on the facts outlined above, the final union contract must not only consider what is “fair” for the professors, but also what is “fair” for students, parents and taxpayers.

State Representative Brad Roae
6th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Dan Massing
dmassing@pahousegop.com
717.772.9845
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