Students at Community College of Philadelphia can breathe a sigh of relief after faculty and staff voted last night not to strike.
Roughly 1,600 employees have been without a contract since their previous deal expired in August. There is no word on when negotiations will resume, but by not approving a strike, students can be assured that classes will not be disrupted.
"We are pleased that the Faculty and Staff Federation has decided not to disrupt the spring semester for our students, and that the Federation has agreed to continue to meet and work to achieve a fair and affordable contract settlement," said a statement from the college.
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The college made its supposed final offer last month. The proposal is a five-year deal with no raise in the first year, and a 10.5 percent raise over the next four years. Workers will not have to pay health care premiums, but would see an increase in co-pays and a deductible for the first time, according to college president Stephen Curtis.
"As a public institution, we face what most public institutions face these days: an economy that has led to declining public dollars for high education," Curtis said yesterday before the vote. "We think we’ve made a good offer. We are hopeful that over time the union will come to an agreement with us."
The two sides have been negotiating for 14 months, but talks have slowed recently, Curtis said, due to "the unwillingness of the union to confront the realities of funding."