Finance - January 25, 2013

PA State University contract talks continue to stall

Contract talks had resumed this month between the faculty union leaders of the PA’s 14 state universities and the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).  But now, talks are stalling again and both sides are speaking out.  Each is accusing the other of being unreasonable; the negotiations have been ongoing for 2 years.  Guido Pichini, Chaiman of the PASSHE noted that there are only a few, yet significant, issues left to resolve.  Those issues include health care costs and retirement benefits.  Michael Slavin, chapter President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties at Cal U has said that the union feels the health care voucher system is unfair and PASSHE’s idea of a new retirement benefit system for new hires does not sit well either.  Pichini noted that with rising over all costs health care is an area where PASSHE can save money and they feel they can still be fair. 

The faculty members approved a strike if necessary in November but have yet to go that route; though some faculty did protest at PASSHE this week.  A strike has never occurred in PASSHE history and both sides do believe they can reach an agreement. 

Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show postponed, Harrisburg region to lose financially

The Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show slated to be in Harrisburg from February 2-10, 2013 has been postponed by its organizers, Reed Exhibitions.  Reed Exhibitions had made a decision to ban assault weapons from the show after the tragic events that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT.  Reed had stated that their intention was to preserve the focus of the show on hunting and fishing.  After the announcement, many people took to social media outlets to express their dissatisfaction and pledge not to attend.  Soon, a number of exhibitors also pulled out of the show, including Pennsylvania favorite, Cabela’s.  Operators of the show then made the move to postpone, noting that the “atmosphere” of this year’s event “would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment.”  Attendees and exhibitors alike felt that the ban was an “attack on the Second Amendment.”

The Harrisburg area stands to lose about $44 million in direct spending with the postponement.  Many area businesses relay on the show in the dead of winter to garner revenue.  The show is the largest outdoor sports show in the state and usually has over 1,200 vendors and exhibitors and usually attracts over 200,000 attendees.  There has been no word on whether the show will be rescheduled.