The Community College of Philadelphia has presented what it says will be its “last and best offer” to unionized staff. The proposal comes after 14 months of negotiations and a strike threat.College president Stephen Curtis says reduced funding from the state and city plus rising health-care costs have placed limits on what the college can offer faculty. The key sticking point in discussions is health insurance, namely introducing a deductible.
“We currently do not require a contribution from the employee. and we are not asking for that in the next contract either. The major difference is the deductible,” says Curtis. The new contract offers a modest rise in salary over four out of five years. The college continues to oppose union demands for significant increases to the benefits offered to part-time employees, saying it does not want to pass on the significant costs of those changes to students. The union representing faculty and staff says it recognizes the college’s tough financial position, but worries insurance deductibles will discourage members for getting needed medical care.