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By JOHN McCALLUM
Editor 

Top 2013 stories from Cheney - Eastern, union approve collective bargaining agreement

Compensation package to bring faculty up to national market levels

 


Eastern Washington University and the United Faculty of Eastern have approved a new three-year collective bargaining agreement that will bring the university’s faculty compensation package to an on-par level with national peer institutions.

The contract calls for yearly faculty pay increases based upon how that faculty member’s salary compares to the average of their rank and discipline at peer institutions, according to information contained in a university news release. Faculty with salaries below 90 percent of market value will receive raises, not exceeding $18,000 per year, bringing them to that 90 percent level in year one

In year two those with salaries below 95 percent of market value receive raises bringing them to that level, and in year three receive raises again that bring them to 100 percent of market level. Additionally, these faculty will receive yearly 2 percent across-the-board raises based upon their new levels: 90 percent in year one, 95 percent in year two and 100 percent year three.

Faculty who are at 90, 95 and 100 percent but below 110 percent of market value in those three years will also receive 2 percent pay increases, with faculty between 110 and 115 percent receiving 1 percent. Faculty members who are over 115 percent are not eligible for the across-the-board increases.

The 2 percent increases are designed to anticipate changes in national market salaries that might take place, such as cost of living adjustments.

“The 2 percent is sort of a shadow projection of what the market should be,” UFE president and EWU English professor Tony Flinn said.

The salary adjustments are based on data compiled from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) for the 2011-2012 academic year. A study by Eastern’s provost office using the CUPA data indicated 75 percent of Eastern’s current faculty earn less than the median salary of faculty at the same rank and discipline at similar institutions.

“I am very happy that the faculty and administration could agree on a process to improve overall faculty compensation,” EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo said in the release.

Flinn praised the agreement as well as the negotiating process that took place between the union and university bargaining teams. The three-year movement towards achieving the mean in salary is important because it’s based on a national and not just regional level.

Flinn said the new compensation agreement, which replaces the standard across-the-board increases, would not only help keep good faculty at Eastern but enable the university’s departments to attract quality people as well through offering nationally competitive salaries.

“This development, coupled with efforts to recruit faculty from national and international markets will reinforce the university’s commitment to support a highly accomplished and dedicated faculty,” EWU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rex Fuller said in the release.

The new agreement also provides a method for full-time, tenured faculty to improve their salary based upon the work they do above that agreed to in their faculty activity plan. Beginning in 2015-2016, full professors who exceed expectations for teaching will receive a 3 percent increase in base salary while those who exceed expectations in teaching and either scholarship/creative activity or service responsibilities receive a 5 percent bump.

The agreement also offers faculty an opportunity to change the time frame in which they are paid, selecting either 24 equal payment periods or 18 periods. Flinn said the current system is 18 periods, but that a faculty survey indicated a lot of members wanted an option for 24 periods.

Flinn gave a lot of the success for the agreement to Arevalo, who he said has been a “good steward of university finances” by “husbanding” away money in anticipation of needing to meet faculty compensation. When the two bargaining teams began meeting last winter, they both knew where they needed to be regarding salary levels.

“What it would look like was what the conversations were about,” Flinn said. “It (the contract) shows how tenacious the union team was, and how reasonable and balanced the university team was.”

The faculty contract begins Sept. 1, 2013 and runs through Aug. 31, 2016.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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