The Joint Committee on Employment Relations, a committee comprised of both the state Assembly and state Senate, will consider Gov. Scott McCallum’s controversial payment plan for University of Wisconsin faculty and academic staff this morning.
Earlier this year, after researching the market, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents proposed a 4.2 percent pay increase for the University of Wisconsin system faculty and academic staff.
McCallum signed their proposed budget in late August, part of which called for an increase in student tuition that would allow funds for the proposed pay increase.
“The budget included authorization to raise tuition sufficient for the pay increase, but a specific amount was not specified [in the budget],” Kevin Boatright of University Relations said.
The Board of Regents petitioned for a 4.2 percent pay increase for both years of the 2001-03 biennial budget. The Department of Employment Relations changed the increase to a 3.2 percent this first year followed by a 4.2 percent increase in 2002-03.
Student Regent Tommie Jones said he and his colleagues are concerned with McCallum’s decision.
“We know we have one of the best systems across the nation, and we want to keep one of the best systems,” Jones said. “But we have to pay salaries equitable to costs across the nation.”
Jones said because the Board of Regents applied for a 4.2 percent pay increase and are only receiving a 3.2 percent increase, he is worried they are not being taken seriously enough.
“We as a system affect the state’s economy and are a true part of the great state of Wisconsin,” Jones said.
Jones is also concerned with faculty leaving UW.
“In a nutshell, we want to pay faculty so they don’t go to different campuses; we want them to stay here and make the UW the best we can,” he said.
Charlie Hoslet, Director of State Relations, said if the proposal is signed today, it will be retroactively effective until July 1, 2001. The first time the increase will be seen in paychecks will be Dec. 1. The retroactive pay will be sent out Dec. 12.
Next year’s increase will be divided and effective in two periods — the first 2.1 percent effective July 1, 2002, and the second 2.1 percent effective Jan. 1, 2003.
“The university is pleased that the governor’s administration has proposed a pay plan close to the one recommended by the Board of Regents. It will help retain faculty and staff that are so important to the institution,” Hoslet said.
The increase for this year will not receive any funding from the state.
However, the state will provide one percent of the planned 4.2 percent increase.
“With the economic times the state is facing, they could not do as much as they would have otherwise,” Hoslet said.
“We were hoping for more state funding than there is, but this is what the DER said they would provide,” Boatright said. “We stand in complete support of what the DER has presented.”
-Eileen Boyce contributed to this story.