Unclassified Staff Advisory Council

MINUTES

Thursday, May 12, 2011
9-10:30 a.m.
163 Student Union


IN ATTENDANCE

Council members, committee members, and guests: Since this meeting was publicized and open to the entire unclassified staff, attendance was not taken at the meeting

Guest presenters: Dr. Henry Limouze and Dr. Bill Rickert

A. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by Jacqui Neal, USAC Chair, at 9:00 a.m.

B. AAUP/University Administration Negotiations: Dr. Limouze & Dr. Rickert

  • What is involved in the contract with faculty union?: The faculty union contract contains both non-economic and economic items. Distance learning, academic freedom, promotion/tenure, etc. are some of the non-economic items included in the contract. Economic items include compensation, benefits, parking, additional benefits (faculty development funds). Economic item negotiations started in April due to the unknowns with the budget. University and faculty have reached tentative agreements on non-economic items. Economic items discussion has been difficult. The university administration is currently offering a zero percent increase in compensation and a 57 percent increase in health care over the next 3 years (it is considered an unfair labor practice to present what you are willing to accept as the initial offer…negotiations must take place). Faculty have agreed to the zero percent increase for the first year, but want an increase over the remaining two years.
  • Why is the university negotiating a three year contract?: The university administration initially offered a zero percent increase for one year, with hopes that the economic situation would improve and the faculty could negotiate more favorable contract the next year.  Faculty negotiators felt the administration offering a one year contract was taking advantage of their vulnerability due to Senate Bill 5. Faculty walked out of negotiations. Once both sides explained their feelings on the offer, negotiations continued with a three-year contract back on the table.
  • What is going on with Senate Bill 5?: The guest speakers feel that President Hopkins does agree with most of Senate Bill 5, particularly with it allowing more flexibility related to collective bargaining during tough economic times. But, new language added to the bill that causes concern. Since faculty are classified as “managers”, they cannot be represented by collective bargaining. Up until now, this mostly applied to private universities (Yeshiva University case), not public universities. Many administrators feel this goes way too far. Also, the bill states that full-time employees would have to pay 15 percent of health care cost (our current average is 13 percent), but this probably wouldn’t limit our ability to maintain our tier system that is currently in place. It is uncertain if the 15 percent rule even applies to universities at this time. In addition to the Senate Bill 5, House Bill 69 (pension reform) would also affect us. If Senate Bill 5 opponents can collect enough signatures (which the guest speakers think they will) to place the legislation on the November ballot, the legislation will be put on hold. If they do not collect enough signatures, the legislation will go into effect on July 1.
  • Compensation inequity between faculty and staff seemed to grow more than ever during the last faculty contract and why offer a three year contract instead of two (since the state budget is biennial)?: In 2008, when last contract was negotiated, inflation was 3.8 percent and increased to over 4 percent after negotiations. No one expected this.  If faculty and the university administration agree to a three year contract, it will be very conservative. The first year of the new contract is a zero percent compensation increase and this will not be negotiable. This doesn’t mean that the staff will not get a raise. Three years ago, everyone (faculty and staff) received a three percent raise. Over the past two years, faculty received a higher increase than staff, but this was unexpected. Faculty have acknowledged that the inequity was unfair, so they are aware of it. Historically (since 1974), faculty/staff raises have been very consistent.
  • Why can’t the university treat all employees equal instead of separating faculty and staff?: If we treat staff the same as faculty, staff will see a health care premium increase. Market conditions between faculty and staff are different…even within faculty. Up until the last two years, the university has been able to keep compensation increases very consistent between faculty and staff. The administration knew it couldn’t be fiscally responsible to agree to give staff the same increase as faculty over the past two years. They (the administration) know they have to make up for what they gave faculty over the past two years due to the current contract.
  • When the university offered a separation incentive, did the terms of that incentive have to be included in the faculty contract?:  Faculty did not have to approve the terms of the incentive. They just had to decide if they wanted to be a part of it.
  • Is it fair that members of the AAUP/faculty (Rickert and Limouze) are representing the university in the faculty contract negotiations and how does the university currently have the second highest paid faculty in the state and one of the lowest tuitions?  In terms of university negotiators, it is important to realize that faculty feel that they play a vital role in the university’s mission and have a different mindset. Rickert and Limouze feel that they have a better understanding of that faculty mindset and have a good collegial relationship with faculty, which is unusual at other universities. In regard to the faculty compensation and low tuition scenario, the university administration knows that they are unable to sustain this. That is why the current faculty offer is a zero percent compensation increase for each of the three years of the contract. The guest speakers cannot foresee the faculty agreeing to what the university is offering.
  • Some have the perception that faculty are overcompensated (not necessarily compensated fairly) and are granted oversight in areas that are not necessarily related to faculty, such as buildings and grounds.: Faculty Senate is involved with Buildings and Grounds Committee and it is not related to collective bargaining. Faculty have no authority and are only able to present recommendations. University administration must determine how to react to those recommendations. Faculty compensation at Wright State has traditionally been in the mid-range compared to other state universities in Ohio (when factoring in health care costs), but due to the current faculty contract, compensation has increased to second in the state. The guest speakers expect that, over the term of the upcoming contract, the amount of compensation will return to the mid-range. Wright State has more engineering and business faculty (traditionally compensated higher than faculty in other areas) than many state schools, which also raises our overall faculty compensation.
  • Concern that staff doesn’t have influence and who should sit at the table to negotiate. How do you get feedback on what staff consider is important before you start to negotiate? Many things they negotiate are not related to staff (promotion and tenure, distance learning, etc.). They also get info from staff council, USAC, CSAC, and take that seriously. It would be against the law to involve staff in collective bargaining. USAC goal has been to open lines of communication. We have been involved in higher-level things (get our input on budget) and administration has been open to that.
  • In the Wright Flyer, it was mentioned that faculty received offset money to compensate for higher health care costs. Why did they receive this offset money?: Compensation equals salary plus benefits. For example, compensation will remain the same if the university charges $200 more for health care premiums and then offers $200 more in salary. The compensation will still be the same.
  • Is the negotiation information found on the AAUP website fair and balanced?Yes, it is fair and the faculty take care to present correct information.
  • What's next?: If no agreement is reached through the negotiations, the current faculty contract expires on June 30, 2011 and the contract will become a month-to-month agreement with a zero percent increase and no other changes to the contract.

C. Items for Discussion

  • Report from the May 11, 2001 Staff Council meeting with President Hopkins and Provost Angle
    • State Budget: State budget is still uncertain. It is currently in the Senate and we still do not have a better understanding of how it will affect the university. The university may have to push the budget presentation until June.
    • Staff Raises: The administration is doing the best they can to give staff raises to try to return balance to the faculty/staff compensation. Enrollment and tuition are both factors that will weight in the decision.
    • Separation Incentives: Administration is 99.9% sure there will not be another separation incentive. Proposed changes to pension plan will probably move people out.
    • State of Reserves: Dipping into our $100 million reserve will affect our composite rating. Our rating is starting to lower (currently 3.2 and don’t want to go below 3) so we do not want to touch it. Administration is currently asking for a five percent reduction to unit budgets and a 3.5 percent reduction to college budgets. They think this can be accomplished without eliminating jobs. Some faculty vacancies will be filled and some areas will be invested in, such as Counseling and Wellness.  We will receive our 12th payment from the state.
    • Consultant Costs: The University is currently working with Huron on a one-year pilot program regarding the regulation of funds. We currently spend about 1 million a year on consultants. Staff wants a ROI report on the consultants.
  • HR Dependent Verification Study Update
    • HMS Employer Solutions (the company we are contracting with for the study) cost the university $42000. So far, over 40 dependents have been removed from benefits, saving the university approximately $160,000 per year.
  • We Serve U
    • Website is being developed to allow participants to log their community service hours.
    • First event, walk and raffle, will be held May 18. Raffle proceeds will go to Hospice of Dayton. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5.
    • Second event, biology preserve clean up, is being planned.
    • Third event will be Move-In Day
    • Fourth event will be held in late fall/winter. Participants will be working with Blue Star Mothers to package items for the troops.

D. USAC Council Subcommittee Reports

  • Nominations/Fundraising Committee: Nominees for the upcoming USAC vacancies have been notified. Voting will take place from May 19 to June 1.
  • Communications Subcommittee: Next newsletter will be coming out after the June meeting
  • Community Service Subcommittee: (see We Serve U information from the previous section (Items for Discussion)
  • CBES Subcommittee:  Gave a brief rundown of what was accomplished/addressed during the past year (SOM misrepresentation with raises, workload equity/communication concerns resulting in letter written to Dr. Limouze, etc.)

E. Wright State Committee Reports

  • Athletics Council: Student Athletic Council elects new officers. Horizon League baseball tournament will be hosted at Wright State. Baseball team is currently teetering between first and second place. The softball team is currently in first place.
  • Dining Services: New catering menu will soon be unveiled. It will offer limited-time options and prices will be more competitive. Catering asks university departments to build in the cost of catering into their budgets and asks that they be given an opportunity to present a menu and costs before units go outside the university for catering. Lake Campus dining renovations are taking longer than expected. Should be completed in June. The university’s board plan may increase 3.5% next year.
  • Semesters:  Curriculum planning phase is coming to an end. Student advising phase will be starting soon. New 7:25 time block is being discussed and Saturday classes may increase.
  • Wellness & Recreation Committee: Walk will be held on May 18. Everyone is invited to the Women in Nature group events. Jennifer Turpin will be sending out information regarding a May 25 kayaking event down Mad River. The annual faculty, staff, and retiree picnic will be held on June 23 on the Dayton campus and June 24 for Lake Campus.
  • Lake Campus: Recently held their first We Serve U event at Lake Campus. Had a great turnout and the event was a success. Elections for council are next week.
  • Sustainability Advisory Council: New website was launched this year. Adopt a highway on I-675 between mile markers 15-17. Physical Plant can deliver recycling boxes to those who need them. Wright State ranked 113 out of 228 universities across the nation in the annual RecycleMaina event.
  • Parking and Transportation: Did not meet this year.

F. Other Business

  • President’s end of year reception for USAC and CSAC will be held on June 1, from 4-5:30 p.m., in the Rockafield House.
  • Please contact David Bringhurst if you are interested in being the chair-elect for 2011-2012.
  • USAC was invited to speak with the auditor’s office to discuss any concerns about Human Resources and the staff survey that was completed several years ago.

F. Adjournment and Next Meeting

The meeting was adjourned by Jacqui Neal, USAC Chair, at 10:28 a.m. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, June 9, at 9 a.m., in 264 Brehm Lab.

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