Collective Bargaining

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Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining gives workers a voice in their workplace - empowering them to negotiate an enforceable contract that governs employees’ wages, hours, and working conditions.

PSEA works with local associations to make sure that every member has the best possible contract by fighting for good salaries, defending health care benefits, and protecting member rights. 

Professional Pay

Pennsylvania’s schools are among the best in the nation because educators and support professionals work hard to help students succeed.

PSEA helps local associations to bargain contracts with the fairest possible compensation for members.

Compensation awareness training

PSEA offers Compensation Awareness Training to local associations preparing to begin the collective bargaining process.

Local leaders should contact their local UniServ representatives for more information or to schedule a training.

Best practices for salary schedules

  • Starting salaries should be increased by at least the same amount as maximums, and never decreased.
  • Increments should be paid without devaluing steps or adding steps.
  • Increments should be uniform throughout the salary schedule.
  • There should be as many columns as possible with appropriate differentials. 
    The columns on a salary schedule represent the additional compensation that education professionals earn for obtaining additional professional development. The number of columns on a salary schedule can vary from two (a bachelor’s degree column and a master’s degree column) to 18 (an additional column for every six credits from bachelor’s to doctorate).
  • Employees should reach maximum as quickly as possible. Salary schedule steps should be numbered to reflect actual steps to the maximum salary.

PSEA collective bargaining goals

  • Use PSEA resources for negotiations, including the UniServ representative, coordinated bargaining participation, and PSEA statewide initiatives
  • Negotiate salaries consistent with PSEA’s Best Practices for Salary Schedules (EA)
  • Negotiate wages consistent with PSEA’s Best Practices for Compensation (ESP)
  • Negotiate language to guarantee class size/work load maximums
  • Negotiate language which ensures a safe, nonviolent, clean, and healthy working environment
  • Negotiate to maintain the highest possible level of health care benefits
  • Reject any attempts to create multi tier salaries and/or benefits
  • Negotiate a severance and benefit package for retiring employees
  • Negotiate language ensuring job security, particularly just cause
  • Negotiate provisions for Association rights

Act 88: Pennsylvania's Collective Bargaining Law


Act 88 of 1992 brought new procedures and schedules to the collective bargaining process under Act 195:

  • Requires a 48-hour notice before a strike begins.
  • Mandates advisory arbitration when a strike will prevent the school entity from providing 180 days of instruction before June 15 or the last day of the scheduled school year.
  • Bans selective strikes.
  • Allows teachers to strike twice in a school year.
  • Allows either party to request fact-finding - which must be granted by the Labor Relations Board.
  • Prohibits employers from using strikebreakers during the first strike who have not been employed by the district in the preceding 12 months before the first strike.
  • Allows employers to hire strikebreakers if a strike resumes after the arbitration award is rejected.
  • Empowers the Secretary of Education to seek an injunction when a local has been on strike long enough that the district will not be able to provide 180 days by June 30.
  • Strikes must cease when the parties submit to arbitration and may not resume until one of the parties has rejected the arbitration award.


January 11 - Last day for negotiations to begin.

February 25 - Mediation on or before this date.

April 10 - Last day for either side to request and receive fact-finding.

May 20 - Last day to issue fact-findng reports requested by April 10. 

May 30 - Last day to accept or reject fact-finding report. If rejected by either side, report must be publicized.

June 4 - First day to reconsider decision on fact-finder's report. 

June 9 - Last day to reconsider decision on fact-finder's report.

Strike Information

PSEA believes that the best negotiated settlement is one that the parties work out themselves through discussion, joint problem-solving, and compromise. However, when agreement cannot be reached, PSEA supports local associations’ rights to strike and opposes legislation that would take away these rights or discourage good faith bargaining in Pennsylvania.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, there is a salary gap between educators and other professions that require a bachelor’s degree or graduate work for entry – a gap that continues to increase. Anti-strike legislation would tip the balance in favor of school boards and increase this growing gap in professional pay.

Strikes and academic performance

PSEA Assistant Director of Research Harris Zwerling published a paper, "Pennsylvania Teachers’ Strikes and Academic Performance," which shows that teacher strikes in Pennsylvania have no negative impact on academic outcomes, measured by district level PSSA test performance, attendance, and graduation rates. 

Long-term Unsettled Bargaining

A significant number of local associations have not settled bargaining processes within the past year. PSEA continues to work with and support these locals to pass fair collective bargaining agreements.

View the current list (member login required)