Temple’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1723 union has been without a contract since Oct. 31, 2007.
The Temple News reported this in our last issue and has received some comments from others – both directly and indirectly – regarding bias in the article.
The Editorial Board believes the article, “Union dissent” written by union beat reporter Kathryn A. López, objectively discusses the differences of opinion between both the union and the university and the union and its members.
We feel the facts presented in the article do not misrepresent the union’s or the university’s stances in the contract dispute. This week, we have published a letter on Page 6 signed by 65 members of the AFSCME union that clears some of the confusion they feel the article created.
Despite allegations posted to our Web site, temple-news.com, TTN is neither pro-union nor pro-university. Through publishing the article, we wanted to bring light to an issue that affects so many on Temple’s campus.
We were further criticized for using two anonymous sources in the article, but the Editorial Board justified this. Both are members of the union, and both understandably fear criticism from their peers regarding their stances on the issue.
The situation at hand between AFSCME and Temple has reached unacceptable levels. Both groups need to be more willing to compromise effectively and resolve the dispute.
Some AFSCME members would like to know more facts and figures about salary negotiations from union leadership, but union leadership won’t disclose numbers because “they should be at the negotiating table,” President Paul Dannenfelser said. How can union members stand behind something if they are unaware of the specifics?
On the university’s side, the listserv created is monitored by Temple administrators, who allegedly filter some of the postings. Additionally, we understand that the university is fighting budgetary issues. But it should also make strides in restructuring its budget to accommodate some of the negotiations made by AFSCME.
The AFSCME-Temple negotiations have unnecessarily become much more complicated and turbulent than they need to be. With both sides seemingly in a stalemate, little progress will inevitably be made.
Both parties need to work actively to resolve the situation. And both should realize sacrifices will need to be made to reach common ground.