More News:

October 09, 2023

Temple's faculty union to rally for new contract with better pay, benefits

The university's professors want more sick leave, extended bereavement time and free SEPTA passes. Their current deal expires Sunday

Education Temple University
Temple Faculty Rally Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Temple University's faculty union is holding a rally Tuesday to demand a new contract with better pay and benefits.

Temple University's faculty union plans to hold a rally on campus Tuesday – five days before its collective bargaining agreement expires – to demand higher wages and better benefits.

The Temple Association of University Professionals, which represents 2,300 faculty members, librarians and academic professionals, began negotiating a new deal in August. But with an agreement still not in place, the union will demonstrate at the corner of Polett and Liacouras walks from 2-4 p.m. Tuesday. 

At the start of contract talks, the union turned down an 18-month extension that included salary increases but stable benefits, according to the Philadelphia Tribune. The union's current deal ends Sunday.

The union is asking Temple for wage increases, but it has not publicly disclosed the request amounts. It also wants an array of new benefits, including 15 sick days for all employees covered by the contract and bereavement leave that last up to 10 days depending on the employee's relationship to the deceased. The union also wants more bereavement time for employees who need to travel internationally.

Additionally, TAUP is asking for new harassment protections, enrollment in SEPTA's Key Advantage program — which provides employees with monthly transportation passes — and access to designated lactation spaces in all campus buildings.

The union ratified its current contract in December 2019. It included annual 3% raises, new health care benefits and changed how student evaluations of professors are used.

Since then, TAUP President Jeffrey Doshna noted the faculty has taught through the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessed the graduate students' strike and endured the resignation of former President Jason Wingard and the death of acting President Joanne Epps.  

"Throughout all these challenges, our faculty, librarians and academic professionals continued to perform their jobs with a significant amount of flexibility and dedication," Doshna said. "Yet Temple Administration's negotiators have taken the same position they have for decades – a concerted effort to take away our rights and a dismissive attitude towards our proposals that seek to protect all our members."

The union wants greater job security for university staff. Doshna said 19 full-time employees lost their jobs last year and others received shorter contracts.

"Temple University welcomes peaceful demonstrations like what is planned for Tuesday," Temple spokesperson Stephen Orbanek said in an email. "Our next bargaining date is (Wednesday), with additional dates scheduled based on the Temple Association of University Professionals availability. We are eager to continue negotiations with TAUP, which we hope will lead to an agreement in the near future."

Doshna said it is too early to know whether a strike will be considered as the two sides try to work out a deal.

Last winter, the Temple University Graduate Students Association went on strike for six weeks to secure a contract that included pay increases for graduate student workers, more affordable health care, 21 days for parental leave, four days of bereavement leave and protections from grueling schedules, discrimination and harassment.

The last faculty strike happened in 1990, according to the Temple News.