Daily Archives: April 20, 2011

A message from President Weisenstein about Retrenchment

WCU faculty colleagues, just in case you missed this somehow–

PASSHE/APSCUF colleagues, I’d be interested in knowing how your local managers have addressed this situation with you–

WCU students, I believe the President when he says he’s committed to protecting the quality of your education, although we might disagree on how best to do that.  Either way, now that he’s said publicly that this is his TOP PRIORITY, it’s incumbent on all of us to hold him to it.

TO:        The Faculty of West Chester University
FROM:  Greg Weisenstein, President
DATE:  April 18, 2011
RE:       Retrenchment Statement
As we are all aware, the state budget picture for PASSHE and West Chester University is full of uncertainty.  This uncertainty requires us to prepare contingency plans for the 2011-12 academic year.  I want to emphasize that as we go through this process, we are focused on our number one priority: ensuring that our students continue to receive a quality educational experience.
Given the current high level of budgetary uncertainty and the many issues facing us, retrenchment, layoffs, and furloughs cannot be ruled out for the 2012-13 academic year.  I do want to assure each of you that we are doing all we can to avoid any of these actions.  However, we need to comply with provisions in the collective bargaining agreements between PASSHE and our several unions that require various timeframes for notification of such potential actions.  For example, under the requirements of the collective bargaining agreement between APSCUF and PASSHE, I have sent a letter to Dr. Clifford Johnston, president of the WCU chapter of APSCUF, notifying him of the possibility of actions affecting WCU faculty.
It is very important for you to understand that no decisions have been made, nor will they be made until we know how much state funding we will receive and what the tuition rate, set by the PASSHE Board of Governors, will be.  Neither of these funding amounts will be known until the end of June 2011.
Even though we need to plan for every possible scenario, we are aware that all decisions we make, both operating and personnel, have an effect on the lives of valued colleagues.  In this uncertain budgetary environment, people are understandably worried.  At the same time, West Chester University’s reputation for excellence is directly built on your achievements and success, and we will not compromise on that excellence.  I ask that we all continue to work hard at supporting our students and one another.  You can be confident that the contributions of each and every one of you are recognized, appreciated, and respected. 

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, PASSHE, Retrenchment, West Chester University

A raise by any other name

From an article published widely around PA today, attributed to the Associated Press:

Chancellor John Cavanaugh told a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in downtown Harrisburg that university administrators hadn’t had a raise in two-and-a-half years. The average 3 percent merit raise went into effect Jan. 1 at a cost of about $6 million a year out of a $1.4 billion system budget, a system spokesman said.

To borrow a phrase from everybody’s favorite President, Ronald Reagan: Here we go again…

It’s become common, during negotiations years, for management to claim that they’ve forgone raises for years while those greedy faculty take huge raises at every opportunity. Chancellor Cavanaugh didn’t miss his opportunity to point this out:

Asked if he would return his raise or ask other administrators to do so, Cavanaugh said the system board of governors sets compensation levels. He also noted that the system’s unionized work force of about 12,000 received raises last year.

Of course, as he says this, he leaves out a handful of salient points:

1. I won’t speak for AFSCME (They’ve spoken for themselves here) or the other unions because I haven’t done the research, but I do know that APSCUF raises haven’t kept up with the pace of inflation for many, many years.

2.  Probably more important, the reason we got raises last year and the years before that is that HIS SIDE AGREED TO THEM TOO.  PASSHE had to sign the collective bargaining AGREEMENT just the same as we did.  For the Chancellor then to assert, no matter how tacitly, that we’d somehow have gamed the system if we got raises and they didn’t is absurd.

3.  Along similar lines: we (all the unions) negotiate our raises with management.  But we get nothing to say about management raises!  If they’ve chosen not to give themselves raises, then fine–but to make us complicit in that is misleading at best.

There’s a lot more to say about this, and I’m sure the Office of the Chancellor will provide opportunities to say it.

REMINDER: Rally for Public Education! April 27, 7 pm, Chester County Courthouse!

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Filed under APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, Collective Bargaining, Contract Negotiations, Office of the Chancellor, PASSHE, Rally, Uncategorized