What’s the Job Classification Study? I’ve never heard about it before.

At the instigation of the Union, this was a project launched in 2015 to develop more accurate job descriptions and to establish a system of pay grades for all staff positions at Columbia College Chicago. A consultant, Mercer, was hired, and they reviewed questionnaires that employees filled out about their job responsibilities, duties, and requirements. It was quite extensive!

Mercer also included salary market data in their analysis, and came up with a proposed pay grade structure. Union leadership, staff on the original Steering Committee and the current team, along with HR, have worked to revise the structure and to clarify and refine the forms and processes involved.

How does this Study affect me?

We are now in the first phase of implementation. Your position was assigned to a job level, aka job grade, based on a number of factors pertaining to your job position, including your job duties and responsibilities, required skills and education, task complexity, and the scope of individual discretion and judgement needed in the job.

Your position will also be grouped into a Job Family, based on job type. You may be able to use the Job Family to help you compare jobs similar to yours for the purpose of an appeal.

This first phase is essentially completed, with an upcoming appeal process described below.

What is the next phase of the job study?

In the next phase of the project, the USof CC will negotiate appropriate pay scales for the 8 grades reserved for bargaining unit staff. The union will add our own research based on comparisons of local schools similar to Columbia College College.

There will be a range of pay per level with a minimum, midpoint, and maximum rate, with some overlap between ranges for adjacent levels. The higher the job level, generally, the higher the pay range will be. The immediate effect on you will depend on where your current salary falls within those pay ranges now. If your pay is within the range for your level, there may not be an immediate effect.

The union will also negotiate clear and objective standards for staff to move along the range from minimum to maximum pay rate at their assigned job level.

Will I have an opportunity to find out more about my job classification?

Yes! HR will send email announcements to employees and managers, and will officially release the following information on IRIS (planned for June 1st):

  1. Job family assignment – groupings of similar types of jobs
  2. Job level assignment for your position
  3. This information is tied to your Employee ID (see below)
  4. Appeal form
  5. Leveling Guide

The rubric developed by the consultant and HR, called the Leveling Guide, used to assign positions to job levels, was discussed and revised by HR and the union in committee. HR now uses the Leveling Guide to assign new positions, and positions that weren’t included in the original study.

Wait—I don’t know my Employee ID!

Don’t worry—a union rep created a visual step-by-step guide to finding your employee ID, and that will be posted on IRIS as well.

How will I be able to tell if I’m in the right slot or not?

Ah—this is where your Union comes in. Once you’ve reviewed the “Leveling Guide” or rubric, you may still have many questions about your position placement. Understandable!

Volunteers from the Union can help you determine if your position is in the right slot in several ways, which also should inform your decision about submitting an appeal.

  1. We can translate the HR jargon in the leveling guide, since we’ve hashed it over at length in meetings!
  2. The USofCC will have additional information available on request to help you compare the job level assignments of coworkers (whose duties you are familiar with) and of other staff with similar job titles. You can determine if the level assignments seem equitable or if there are any inconsistencies. If you email your request to usofcc@yahoo.com, we will send you a spreadsheet with the following information for staff across the College:
    1. Job Title
    2. Department
    3. Job family assignment
    4. Job level, or Grade assignment
  3. You can email usofcc@yahoo.com and a volunteer union member will try to answer your questions.
  4. Read the Union newsletter! We are also planning to throw some “Appeal Process Pizza Parties” to gather as a group to fill out the Appeal Form and help each other out.

Who can help me?

Volunteer representatives from Union leadership and membership will be on hand to answer questions and help guide you through considering an appeal and the appeal process. See above. Also, check the Union website for updates, and volunteer to host an Appeal Process Pizza Party!

What’s all this about an appeal? How does that work?

After you’ve reviewed the information from HR and the Union about your position and pay grade and job family assignments, you will have an opportunity to gather evidence and submit an appeal to request that your job level be upgraded. Please note that the appeal is based on the requirements and duties of your position, not on any factors or skills pertaining to you as an individual.

IMPORTANT: You will have 30 days after the information is released to submit your appeal.

See above for resources available to you to help you determine whether you have a good case for an appeal, and what sorts of evidence you need. The email announcement and the appeal form include detailed instructions as well.

What does the Classification Study NOT do?

It does not increase my pay. There is a different process for working with HR on issues of temporary work duties, workloads, upgrades, stipends, and pay increases.

Here is some information from HR on that process:


How can I get my compensation changed? I am doing way more work now!

First, you may be able to appeal your job classification level based in part on this factor. Once you feel you have been assigned to the right job level, compensation changes will depend on the negotiations process for the second implementation phase of the Job Study and on bargaining for our new contract and raises.

For now, there is a process already in place to work with your supervisor and HR to request an upgrade, stipend, or salary increase. See the link above and feel free to ask us for more information!

What is the timeline for this part of the implementation phase?

First there is a 30-day window after the information is released to file an appeal using the form that will be provided on IRIS. HR staff reviews appeals as they are filed, and will send a written determination to you. They have not made any promises about how quickly they can review them, citing reductions in their staff. (We can relate!)

Once you have your appeal determination, within 15 days you will have the option to request a personal meeting with HR to clarify and/or supplement your appeal basis to try to affect their decision. Please copy the union on this email request; a Union representative will attend that meeting with you. The Job Classification and Appeal phase will last 45 days plus time for appeal reviews and determinations, and any additional meetings scheduled with HR post-determinations.

What happens next?

If your appeal determination result is still not satisfactory, your issues and concerns could still be addressed in the usual bargaining process.

In the next phase of the project, the Union will begin bargaining the pay ranges and starting values for the pay grades in the pay structure. Note that the negotiated pay band for your job level may or may not result in a raise for you depending on where your salary falls within the pay scale.

Negotiations for the new contract will probably begin during, and overlap with, this phase.

Join the Negotiations Committee or Contract Support Team to add your energy to the next push to benefit our whole membership!


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