by Gloria Diaz
After months of discussion, Phil Hawkey, University of La Verne vice president, has proposed a program that would grant salary increases to faculty and staff, but could take away some key benefits.
The plan was presented to University employees last month in a forum sponsored by The American Association of University Professors, the national organization that provides professional support for faculty.
The plan introduces a formula to increase pay for employees, with the goal of eventually bringing salaries to competitive levels with comparable universities. Current faculty salaries lag between 5 percent and 15 percent behind comparison groups, according to university faculty, who have been working with the numbers.
Under the plan: “Pay targets will be assessed annually, and as a result, a pay target may increase or decrease.”
The plan also states that employees who have been here for less than two years will receive a minimum salary of 81 percent of the pay target, while those with two-to-four years on the job will receive 84 percent of the pay target.
After four-to-six years on the job, the minimum salary must be within 87 percent of pay targets. The minimum salary for employees with at least six years in a job must be 91 percent of the pay target.
For those employees paid 150 percent or more above the pay target, pay raises under the plan would be half that of the general increase.
“They finally felt that the numbers they came up with would be realistic for us, and would allow us over time to take all of our employees to a comparable level with the other institutions,” said ULV President Stephen Morgan.
“I am in favor of all of us being as close to target pay as possible,” said Claudio Muñoz, AAUP president. “I want us to be fairly compensated.”
But while the plan delivers the salary news ULV employees have been waiting for pay increases in reach of the market average the news is not as pleasing when it comes to employee benefits.
Currently, under the University’s retirement plan, an employee is vested immediately upon hire.
The new plan states: “Vesting of retirement for new full-time regular employees hired after Jan. 1, 2004 will occur after five years of employment.”
Another arguably more critical employee benefit in jeopardy is tuition remission, which allows University employees and their dependents to have ULV tuition paid for by the University.
Under the new plan, anyone hired after Jan. 1, 2004 will have to wait three years before receiving full tuition remission benefits. They instead would receive 50 percent coverage after their first year; after two years coverage would go to 75 percent, with 100 percent coverage after three years.
The majority of employees who attended the February meeting disapproved of the suggestions to reduce retirement and tuition remission benefits.
“I’d like to be sure all classified employees have input before it goes to the trustees,” said Angelina Quevedo, administrative assistant.
Muñoz said he hopes all ULV employees will review the proposal, which was recently e-mailed to faculty and staff, and provide feedback.
“My belief is that when the employees really understand what the proposal from the task force is, that there should be general support for it,” Morgan said. “As we budget for next year, we are hoping to put into the budget the funding to help go at least part of the way.”
There will be two sessions to discuss the proposal. The first, for classified and administrative employees, is at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The faculty session will be at 1 p.m. Both sessions will be held in La Fetra Auditorium.