Friday, October 28, 2005

Shameful: Trustees raise own salaries by almost 50%

CSU Employees Union Pat Gantt asked that we forward his message to as many employees as possible.

Just when we thought relations with the CSU Chancellor's Office and the Board of Trustees were improving, the Board of Trustees unanimously took the second most shameful action they have ever taken - increasing executive compensation by a staggering 49.5% over the next 5 years.  Many of you will recall the most shameful action ever taken by the Board of Trustees: On March 19, 1996, they unilaterally took away annual merit salary adjustments (known as "steps") from employees represented by the CSU Employees Union and imposed discretionary performance pay.

The CSU Employees Union was looking forward to the October 27, 2005, Board of Trustees meeting, where plans would be announced for trying to close the faculty and staff salary gap.  At the September 2005 Board meeting, Finance Committee Chair Bill Hauck announced the creation of a subcommittee which would look at the lag between faculty and staff salaries at the CSU and comparable institutions of higher education. Over the past few years, members have made it clear that our wages have not kept pace with inflation, that they cannot move through the open salary ranges, and that many salaries lag those paid similar job classifications in comparable agencies.  Vice Chancellor Jackie McClain reported to us that "our members made a strong case at the Board meeting for some classes being significantly below market" and as a result of the union's actions, the Board of Trustees "added the equivalent of one-half percent to the 2005/06 compensation pool to address such issues."

So, CSUEU was pleased when the Board of Trustees distributed the outline of a 5-year plan to close the faculty and staff salary gap.  The CSU plan for FY 2006/2007 included funding for an additional $16.6 million for the first year of their five year period.  The CSU explained that the so-called "compact" between the Chancellor and the Governor assumes a 3% base compensation increase each year from 2006/07 through 2010/11.  Their summary document stated that another $300 million was needed to reduce the salary gap to zero.  While we might argue that this is not enough to reduce the salary gap for faculty and staff to zero, at least it was a start and we were prepared to praise the CSU's initial efforts.  Until

Until the matter of executive compensation came up.

The CSU contends that the pay of presidents and senior staff at the Chancellor's Office lag the market by a staggering 49.5%.  They said that this 49.5% gap is proportional to the faculty salary lag of 13.1%.  And, they proposed a five-year plan to increase executive pay by ten percent each year!  On top of that, presidents will receive substantial increases in their housing and auto allowances.  After hardly any debate, the board unanimously approved this plan.  Also, keep in mind that the Trustees had just voted to increase student fees by another 8% next year - the fifth year in a row of hikes in student fee increases.

The only word that comes to mind in shameful. The timing and the amount of the raise makes me think that the CSU Trustees are totally out of touch with the employees or students.  Could it be they really don't even care?  The fact that they took this brazen step in the same meeting where they raised student fees shows that the CSU system is really becoming a corporate model where only the executives benefit and the employees and customers (students) are exploited.

The CSU Employees Union is in the process of developing bargaining proposals for next year's full contract bargaining.  You can be sure that closing the staff salary gap will be seriously considered.

A complete review of the trustees action are in the following article:

[Link to story on SF Gate]

If this link doesn't work, go to SF Gateand search [Link] for October 28, 2005.


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