Point Park faculty, supporters rally for a fair contract

Full-time faculty at Point Park University took their case for a fair contract to the streets on Tuesday, rallying on campus and calling for the university’s cooperation in negotiating a fair contract. Approximately 130 full-time faculty at the school are members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh Local 38061, along with about 110 staffers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Faculty salaries are well below parity with peer institutions, the union reports.

“We deserve a contract with wages that value our expertise and our commitment to our students,” said Karen Dwyer, a faculty member and a member of the union’s bargaining committee. “Our workload is considerable and has increased significantly in the last year, as we have fulfilled the university’s mission of educating young people.”

Faculty bargaining committee member Bob Ross pointed out that the rate of inflation has increased dramatically. “Most economists agree that the rate will continue to grow over the coming years,” Ross said. “Faculty deserve raises commensurate with our demanding workload, the rising rate of inflation, increasing tuition, and our peer institutions.”

Students rallied with them, chanting, “Faculty contract now!”

“The fact that their tuition is being used to fund this fight against the very faculty that is providing their education shouldn’t be ignored as part of this discussion,” Assistant Professor Dwight Hines told the Pittsburgh CBS affiliate.

Lacretia Wimbley, president of the Pittsburgh Local, said providing a fair contract for Point Park faculty is of paramount importance. They have bargained with the university administration 23 times since June.

“The pandemic was rough on everyone, but our faculty members worked hard, taking on extra loads and bending to accommodate the unforeseen health crisis,” Wimbley said. “The University has received millions in COVID-19 relief funding, and being that faculty salaries have never been at parity with peer institutions, a request for fair compensation is a reasonable bottom line.”

Photo at top: Faculty members and students gather for the rally.