What's Really Happening - 2005/08/08



What's Really Happening

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of August 8, 2005


The CSEA Negotiating Team will meet the administration's negotiators and a State Employment Relations Board (SERB) mediator at 9 AM Thursday, August 11, to determine how and if negotiations will proceed following rejection of the fact finder's report.

Tentative agreements previously reached are likely to remain in place. The issues submitted to the fact finder, however, remain open.

We remain hopeful but concerned. The tone of the Board's comments following its rejection of the fact finder's report suggested unwillingness to compromise on salary and benefits issues. We anticipate that, since administrators have pushed hard in the past week to return to bargaining, they will come to the table with creative proposals that will move all of us toward a fair agreement.


CSEA members have begun volunteering to work on the Crisis Committee, which will address a range of activities beyond the bargaining table. There's a place for you on one of its subcommittees-Research, Communication, or Action. Whatever your skill, there is something you can do to help. If an Association representative has not yet been able to reach you, call one of the names at the end of the newsletter and discuss what you can contribute to these important efforts.


At the beginning of this year, the administration began looking at its overall compensation system for staff and administrators. An outside consulting firm was hired to assist with this, and the firm's representatives surveyed all staff and administrators about the strengths and weaknesses of the college's compensation and evaluation methods, using focus groups and interviews as part of its work.

The results of the survey are available at the project's website: www.cscc.edu/compensation  (click on "posted updates" for the survey results).

Interestingly, staff and administrators evidently feel that some of the weaknesses of the current system, and changes they'd like to see made, include:

1. "There is some compression between new employees and long term employees caused by employee salaries moving at the same rate as the salary structure."

2. "Implement a combination of merit and longevity for employee pay increases."

3. "Allow for some flexibility in hiring levels."

4. "Implement some form of longevity pay."

Also, something non-compensation related was "Implement ... upward evaluations."

Most of this sounds-not surprisingly-like the concerns that CSEA has raised on behalf of faculty in contract negotiations.

Also, the timeline (and FAQs) suggest that any new salary system for staff/administrators "is projected to be implemented by the beginning of January 2006." Will the Board review and possibly adjust its meager pay increase of 2.5% for staff at its January meeting?


.especially since the Teamsters International Union has notified the administration of its intention to begin an organizing drive on campus to form a collective bargaining unit for staff who currently lack union representation. (The Teamsters already represent employees of the Physical Plant and Public Safety.)

The College has indicated to non-unionized staff that it will look out for their best interests. Evidently, "looking out for" people includes forcing them to choose between a low-coverage "catastrophic" health care plan and paying over 70% more to maintain their current coverage. "Looking out for" people also includes a raise (2.5%) that doesn't even keep up with inflation (running at 3.3%). "Looking out for" people apparently also means giving them a one-time $500 stipend (subject to normal taxes) to offset increases in health care premiums that doesn't come close to offsetting the actual costs. Such "one-time stipends" are a common private-business tactic for masking the long-term impact of a dramatic shifting of health care costs to employees.

An unfortunate reality is that many staff are taking home less money this August than they took home last August, due to the low raises, inflation, and increased medical premiums they've been forced to shoulder. CSEA wonders how much longer our hard-working and underpaid staff will trust the administration to "look out for their best interests."

Word is that managers will meet this week to discuss the issue, but it is unlikely that much "discussion" will actually take place. Rather, managers will be given their marching orders on what to do and say to staff.

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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