The bargaining units for faculty and staff at Community College of Philadelphia voted yesterday to authorize a strike, union officials said.
John Braxton, a co-president of the Faculty and Staff Federation AFT Local 2026, said the union, which represents some 1,400 members, won't be walking out immediately.
The union will continue negotiating with the college at least through the end of spring break, from which students will return March 12.
The college and the union, which represents full- and part-time faculty and staff, have been negotiating since January 2006 to renew a contract that expired last Aug. 31, Braxton said.
The major sticking point has been a disagreement over changing from a Blue Cross health- care plan to an Aetna plan. Union officials say the Blue Cross plan is superior, Braxton said.
He also said the union wants a "modest" increase in salary.
"We're fed up," said union co-president Karen Schermerhorn. "We think the administration has put a really low priority on faculty and staff who do the real work of the college."
Schermerhorn and Braxton said they want CCP to open its books about the salaries paid to administrators. They especially would like to know how many administrators are paid more than $100,000 a year.
"Faculty and students open our books every day," Braxton said. "Why won't CCP officials open their books?"
Anthony Twyman, a CCP spokesman, said the college is still negotiating with the union and will not discuss salaries.He said the rising costs of health care and health benefits are "an issue at almost every major employer in Philadelphia and across the nation."