Temple Student Government asserted its support for contract negotiations for the Temple Association of University Professionals and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. TSG passed a resolution declaring its alliance with members of both organizations.
“I think this is the most important piece of legislation that we will hear,” said Jeff Dempsey, TSG Senate president.
The Student Labor Action Project introduced the resolution, which names TSG as a representative of the student body. The resolution formally and unequivocally supports and endorses the platforms, ideals, and motives of these organizations.
TSG does not consider itself just an ally but a follower of union principles.
Alex Barnett, a senator for the Fox School of Business, proposed one amendment to the resolution, requesting that lines 28 and 29 be stricken from the bill.
The two lines state that “merit pay is offered and introduced with no formal guidelines, regulations or ideal of how set system would operate.”
Barnett said since the Senate did not have evidence of this validity, the lines should be stricken to avoid possible contention in the future.
The amendment was passed unanimously.
The resolution was passed with overwhelming support. No votes were cast against it and only one senator abstained.
“It’s important that you support the people who keep this university going,” said Dusha Holmes, a senator from the School of Communications and Theater.
TAUP and AFSCME are two unions that represent the faculty at Temple. Faculty members represented by AFSCME have been working without contracts for two years, while TAUP has been working under a temporary extension of a contract that was supposed to expire on Oct. 15.
TAUP has been working on negotiations with the administration since June.
“We’ve been held hostage by the administration,” said Paul Dannenfelser, president of AFSCME at the university.
TAUP and AFSCME are requesting a cost of living raise for all faculty members. They want further explanation of the new pay for a performance system, which may differ from its traditional merit pay system.
TAUP wants to be able to collect dues from its members in order to finance its campaign. It also wants non-tenured professors to receive higher pension contributions from Temple.
Arthur Hochner, president of TAUP and a human resource management professor, said non-tenured professors receive no pension contributions their first year and only earn a 1 percent contribution for three subsequent years.
“They are cheap labor, so they are more exploited,” Hochner said.
Hochner and Dannenfelser expressed their gratitude for TSG proposing and passing this resolution.
“[The resolution] shows that students and student government have a social conscience, and they are not afraid to vocalize what they think to be right,” Dempsey said
Kevin Paris, vice president of SLAP, confirmed Dempsey’s thoughts about how the resolution will affect TAUP and AFSCME’s contract negotiations.
“The university will see that students care about this issue and are acting on it,” Paris said.
Paris added with the student support of these two unions, President Ann Weaver Hart and her administration are pushed even harder to do something to resolve this issue.
“I believe that it is a wonderful thing that the students have come together for the faculty,” said Kevin Gerard, a senator from the College of Liberal Arts. “We need to be behind them, as they have been behind us in our education.”
Rebecca Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.