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Full-time faculty union reaches contract agreement

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Full time faculty members demonstrated outside Lawrence Hall on admitted students day Saturday.

Full time faculty members demonstrated outside Lawrence Hall on admitted students day Saturday.

Photo by Robert Berger

Photo by Robert Berger

Full time faculty members demonstrated outside Lawrence Hall on admitted students day Saturday.

Written By Alexander Popichak and Josh Croup

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Last Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 at 8:30 p.m.

After 18 months of negotiation and 11 years’ worth of legal battles for recognition, Point Park University and its full-time faculty union voted Monday to accept the terms of their first collective bargaining agreement.
Faculty members learned

Faculty members learned of a preliminary agreement prior to a pre-semester Faculty Assembly meeting last Wednesday. They met two days later and reviewed the preliminary terms of the contract agreed upon between the administration and the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communication Workers of America, the union representing
the full-time faculty.

The contract was ratified Monday in a 96-6 vote, according to Michael A. Fuoco, president of the Newspaper Guild of
Pittsburgh.

“It was a long process with a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Fuoco told the Globe last week. “We’re very pleased
that we reached an agreement. We didn’t receive everything we hoped for, but we did get a good foundation to build for the future.”

The new four-year contract running through 2021 includes increased salaries and more benefits for full-time faculty. It will be applied retroactively to last the academic year

“I would say that a lot of disciplined, tenacious discussions are what reached the agreement,” said Paul Hennigan,
university president. The faculty were represented

The faculty were represented by the negotiating representatives, lawyers and faculty members throughout the process. Karen Dwyer, an associate professor of English, was one of those faculty negotiators.

“It feels amazing,” Dwyer said. “We’ve been locked in a room for a year and a half doing this.”

Representatives from the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communication Workers of America, the union representing the full-time faculty, encouraged faculty members to vote “yes” on the preliminary terms of the agreement negotiators agreed to last week.

Full-time faculty members voted in June 2004 to unionize and join the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh. The university announced in July 2015 it was dropping its legal appeals case after 11 years.

“Point Park University has reached a memorandum of agreement with the Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America on a contract subject to ratification by the full-time faculty,” Lou Corsaro, managing director of university marketing and public relations, said in a release last Wednesday. “The University believes it is a fair agreement for all parties.”

“I’m really pleased that we have a tentative agreement,” Hennigan said Monday. “I am the person who convinced the board of trustees in 2015 to recognize the faculty union. So if we get a ratified contract, I will be very, very pleased.”

The university and full-time faculty union began negotiating in March of 2016 and began negotiations “in
earnest” in May of 2016. In a March 2017 interview with the Globe, Point Park President Paul Hennigan said the administration expected negotiations for the faculty’s first contract to take between 18 and 24 months.

Psychology professor Bill Purcell was another faculty representative at the negotiating table.

“It’s a negotiation. We gave up some things to get some things,” Purcell said. “Overall I think it’s a good contract.”

 

Adjunct faculty reached its first agreement with the university in 2015.

 

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