What's Really Happening - 2003/01/06

 

 

What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of January 6, 2003

SALARY SCHEDULES

As most of you know, the issue of a rational salary schedule is at this point the primary source of conflict between the administration and CSEA. The injustice of the present salary system is one of the prime reasons why CSEA won the representative election one year ago.

During the last year, we repeatedly attempted to get the College to recognize the importance of this issue. We proposed a just and rational salary schedule that provides faculty with a reasonable expectation that over a career at CSCC they can progress to the top of their salary range. During our negotiations the administration and Board of Trustees have repeatedly refused to discuss the matter. They cling to the existing system that does not allow faculty to progress to the top of the ranges even after an entire 38-year career.

In their negotiations, press releases and other communications, and with each new CSEA offer at compromise, the Board's negotiators offer new reasons to explain why the Board will not adopt a salary schedule to correct the injustice of the existing system that prevents faculty from advancing within pay "ranges." Their reasons, however, do have a range: from overall cost (which they miscalculated at almost twice the actual cost) to the perennial "crisis in state funding," even as Governor Taft says higher education will be spared drastic budget cuts, enrollment continues to increase, and the administration projects revenue increases of nearly 7% this year.

Their last attempt at cost-inflation strategy was so bad that the President had to publicly admit that their cost numbers were wrong, dismissing the episode as a "simple misunderstanding" and difference in "costing approaches." The truth of the matter is that we have been trying since June 2002 to involve the College in a reasoned discussion to determine the actual cost of implementing the College's and CSEA's salary proposals. They continue to refuse to participate in such an effort, choosing to deal in generalizations and estimates.

Our team has prepared detailed analyses for the period Jan 1, 2002 to June 30, 2005 of the actual cost of five different proposals. Our analysis estimates total costs for each proposal for the entire year (four quarters). We used each faculty member's 3-quarter base salary and added 14% for STRS contribution and 2.5% for other payroll taxes (i.e., Workers Compensation and unemployment taxes). We accounted for Summer Quarter, and we also assumed that the number of full time faculty positions will be 248 for 2002-2003, 256 positions for 2003-04, and 264 positions for 2004-05. All assumptions made are "largest possible cost" scenarios (i.e., that all positions are filled; that no faculty retire; etc.) The following table summarizes the total cost of each of the five scenarios.

3-year TOTAL COST (millions)

3-year TOTAL COST (millions)

1. CSCC October 18 proposal # 1 ( 3%+ 2%), 3%, 2% $ 65.75
2. CSCC December 18 proposal #2 (3%+2%), 4%, 3% $ 66.30
3. CSEA proposal (6%, 3%, 3% - 35 steps) $ 70.91
4. FACT FINDER recommendation 6%, 3%, 2% - 24 steps $ 70.16
5. Historic raises (average over past 3 years 5.67%) $ 70.96

These totals and differences should be compared to total College expenditures for the period January 1, 2002 to June 30, 2005. We estimate that total to be more than $300 million.

THE REAL DIFFERENCE

The amount needed to implement a salary schedule and correct the injustice of the existing system is quite small when compared to total expenditures of the College. The longer the problem exists, the more discontented faculty (particularly junior faculty) will become, and the more the discontent will contaminate the work and learning environment at CSCC. It is also clear by the their actions that the Board of Trustees and the administration underestimate, or fail to fully appreciate, the "value added" that faculty contribute through their dedication, skills, and commitment to CSCC that includes substantial after-hours and between-quarters work. They do not understand the basic truth that Columbus State's future success can only be achieved with the support of the faculty. The mere existence of the CSEA at CSCC indicates that the Board and administration have not valued faculty's role in the past success of the College. Even now they believe that they can prolong negotiations without any consequence, mindless of the long-term scars they are creating within the faculty.

WHERE WE ARE

The Board has offered its previous proposal (see above) with the addition of 1% steps. This proposal would still not allow a faculty member to reach the top of the Professor range, even after a 38-year career. CSEA has countered with a proposal to phase in the largest of the salary schedule increases over 2 years, saving the Board more than three-quarters of a million dollars over 3 years. However, the Board's position at this point is simple: they don't feel it is necessary to make changes because people still accept faculty positions at Columbus State each year (so our current compensation package must be fair), and our "average" salaries are comparable to other Ohio community colleges. In fact, they justify current inequities by comparing pay ranges rather than how a new hire is placed in rank. They try to equate salaries at other state colleges (where one's degrees and teaching experience dictate placement in rank) with Columbus State, which has historically rejected such placement and starts all new faculty at the lowest pay of the lowest rank, regardless of licensing, certification, degrees, or teaching experience.

They also believe that the dramatic increase in student enrollment is attributable to factors other than outstanding faculty. In fact, the Board believes that the President's performance, as indicated by increased enrollments, instructional initiatives, and overall institutional reputation warrants a bonus of about 7.5% a year for the period 1999-2004, a balloon payment of $75,000 that she will receive within 2 years. The Board also has seen fit to reward the President with an extra compensation bonus by picking up ALL of her STRS contribution (i.e., in addition to the 14% that the College contributes to STRS for all members, the College now contributes the additional "member's portion" of 9.3% on behalf of the President). In addition, all managers received a salary increase of nearly 12% in 2002. It appears that there are no "funding uncertainties" in the Inner Circle. While institutional revenues, enrollments, and administrative raises go to unparalleled levels, faculty are told to tighten their belts.

Finally, we note that our raises last year were cut by an arbitrary percentage when the College was formulating a budget prior to funding action by the General Assembly. Anticipating budget cuts and wanting to plan conservatively, the College cut raises from their historic average of more than 5%. Yet, when the state budget and continually increasing student enrollment provided more-than-adequate funding, the College didn't bother to restore faculty pay increases even as it increased managers' pay by over 12%.

On December 30 the Negotiating Team offered Board negotiators a compromise counter-proposal covering salary schedule, personal days, and overload pay.

UNION MEETING

There will be CSEA member meetings from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on January 14 and 15 (to assure that all members can attend one or the other) to discuss the current status of negotiations and to conduct a strike authorization vote. This vote will provide the Negotiating Team with the authority to call for a work stoppage if negotiations cannot produce an agreeable settlement. The location of these on-campus meetings is forthcoming.


What's Really Happening is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124


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