Wage Negotiations Begin- Two Sides Far Apart as Administration Proposes Staff Wage Freeze

Come to the USofCC Contract Support Meeting:    
Friday, Sept 23rd
2 sessions:    noon – 1 pm & 1  to 2 pm
Hokin Hall –623 S. Wabash Ave.      Room 109

No one figured wage negotiations would be easy. But then few thought that the College would propose a wage freeze at the first bargaining session.

The administration’s proposal came after the Union had proposed a 4% increase across the board for all full-time and part-time bargaining unit employees.  Factors cited by the union to justify this increase included:

·         Cost of Living. Columbia employees have gone backward financially over the past three years –losing 5.1% against the National Cost of Living (Consumer Price Index). More recently, the cost of living increased by 3.77% over the most recent 12 month period (June 2010 to June 2011) compared to the staff 1% wage increase given to the staff.

·         Previous College Savings. The College has already initiated large cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, freezing of vacant positions, widespread department budget cuts, general expenditure cuts, and student tuition increases. President Carter stated during his Spring speech that savings had totaled approximately $6 million.  Since that time, the College has saved even more money through cuts to departments’ budgets and additional layoffs. According to President Carter, more changes (cuts) are planned as a result of the upcoming “prioritization” campaign.

·         Growth of Endowment Fund. President Carter again reported major success with the College’s endowment fund, with $60 million of Columbia’s $100 million fundraising goal being met. Growth of this fund has allowed the College to divert more funds for scholarships and building improvements—expenses that the administration claimed last year prevented it from giving larger staff pay increases.

So why can’t the staff get a much-deserved pay increase? The College administration claims that declining enrollment is reason enough. USofCC believes otherwise. There are sufficient funds to provide for a fair pay raise—it’s a question of priorities. Columbia’s staff needs to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication, especially with many employees doing the work of two or more. After all, where would the College and Columbia’s students be without the staff?

Say YES to a Fair Pay Increase!

Bargaining Support Meeting

Friday, Sept. 23
Times:    12 – 1pm or 1-2pm
Hokin Hall –623 S. Wabash Ave.      Room 109

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