AFSCME to rally with TAUP today

AFSCME members have worked without a contract since October 2007. TAUP’s contract is set to expire Wednesday.

Temple’s faculty and other employees will rally for new contracts in front of Sullivan Hall outside the Board of Trustees meeting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 14.

The university’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Temple Association of University Professionals have attempted to come to an agreement with the university on new contracts.

TAUP, which consists of 1,250 faculty members, has been negotiating terms for its contract scheduled to expire tomorrow. AFSCME’s contract expired on Oct. 31, 2007.

Paul Dannenfelser is the president of AFSCME at Temple (Kriston Bethel/TTN).

AFSCME consists of more than 750 professional and technical employees on campus including laboratory managers, programmers, analysts and accountants.

Twelve negotiating sessions between AFSCME and the university were held during the past year.

A final proposal was made to the union on May 19, 2008, said Sharon Boyle, assistant vice president of labor and employee relations. She said AFSCME was asked to take the proposal to its members in order to obtain a vote. However, it failed to obtain a vote and did not schedule another meeting with the university’s negotiating team.

“We are open to meeting with them again, but they have not scheduled any sessions,” said Paul Dannenfelser, president of AFSCME.

The university’s last proposal does not guarantee that employees will receive across the board living increases, Dannenfelser said.

The last offer made to AFSCME included the merit pay proposition, as did the last offer made to TAUP, but it also gave AFSCME members a non-merit pay option, Boyle said.

Dannenfelser said AFSCME also disagrees with the university’s desire to increase employees’ share in the payment of health insurance.

“We’re just interested in getting a fair raise,” Dannenfelser said. “It’s only right being that Temple has done so well in the past few years.”

“Our hope has always been to come to a final resolution,” Boyle said. “We have a final proposal out there.”

“It’s clear that they’re encouraging a hostile relationship,” Dannenfelser said. “They don’t want to sit down with us and negotiate.”

“We’re interested in coming to a fair resolution,” Dannenfelser said. “It’s not in the best interest of the staff or the students to insist on an unfair pay plan, which denies employees a fair raise, especially in the current economic situation.”

Although AFSCME is attempting to unite with TAUP, it is two separate bargaining units, Boyle said.
“They’ve just lost a lot of time by doing that,” Boyle said.

Temple’s Student Labor Action Project has been working with AFSCME since its contract expired last year.

“The university is doing to AFSCME what they’re trying to do to TAUP,” said Wes Weaver, president of SLAP. “SLAP has always been supportive of AFSCME, but in our opinion this new policy merit pay is deplorable.”

Weaver, a junior geography and urban studies major, said merit pay promotes a work environment in which the staff is forced to fight against each other for raises that the union has no power to negotiate.

“As students, it is in our best interest for staff to work together, otherwise they will not work as effectively,” Weaver said. “The quality of our education would suffer.”

SLAP will be present at the rally. Weaver said SLAP has been working with other student organizations such as the Student Peace Alliance, Students for Environmental Action and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.

“The university is causing a lot of labor unrest on campus,” Weaver said. “As students, we must get behind our faculty, staff and employees and fight for fair and beneficial conditions for them.”

Kathryn A. López can be reached at

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