College News

UW-Madison faculty to receive two percent wage compensation increase over next two years

Professor Chad Goldberg, President of United Faculty and Academic Staff, American Federation of Teachers Local 223, called the compensation raise for UW-System employees “modest.” Here, he is pictured at a Faculty Senate meeting.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

UW-Madison faculty and staff will receive a 2 percent increase in wage compensation for the next two years, which UW System Ray Cross said “represents the largest investment the State has made in UW employees in more than a decade.”

The first pay increase will be effective Sept. 1, 2018 and the second increase will come May 1, 2019. Of that total four percent, the state will fund 70 percent of the increase. However, with the legislature planning to freeze tuition, it isn’t clear where the rest of the funding will come from.

Unlike other UW System schools, UW-Madison will get the funds for salary increases directly from the state’s compensation reserves, UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said. Other campuses will get their funding from the UW System.

“Individual campuses will likely need to identify the remaining funds,” McGlone said. “We do not have details yet on the source for UW-Madison. We are likely to have to reallocate from other funds.”

UW-Madison professor Chad Goldberg, President of United Faculty and Academic Staff, American Federation of Teachers Local 223, spoke for his group on the issue.

“United Faculty and Academic Staff supports the tuition freeze, but we say fund the freeze, meaning that the legislature should increase public spending to compensate for lost tuition revenue,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg also voiced concern over how the distribution would work for employees of varying income levels.

“UFAS would like to see salary increase maximized for the lowest paid university employees instead of a winner-take-all campus,” Goldberg said.

The Joint Finance Committee’s Thursday vote comes after UW-Madison struggled to retain its faculty due to a loss of tenure rights from the state statute and a $250 million cut to the UW System in the last budget. New Board of Regents President John Behling and UW-Madison Chancellor Becky Blank acknowledged these issues in their statements.

“We advocated strongly for a compensation increase, and we appreciate the legislature listened,” Behling said. “This is an important recruitment and retention tool for institutions.”

Blank also said that the UW-Madison administration is “still reviewing” the JFC’s vote against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed healthcare plan for state employees, but thanked the body for their approval of the increase in pay for UW System employees.

“Providing this increase will help us attract and retain the best and brightest instructors, researchers and staff,” Blank said.

However, not everyone agrees that the raises will be enough to retain faculty and staff.

Goldberg called the raise “modest” and said his group does not think the raise makes up for a loss of collective bargaining rights as well as the “weakening of tenure and shared governance.”

“Some chancellors in the UW System think a raise will discourage employees from leaving for jobs at other universities, but the most effective way to foster loyalty to the UW is to give employees a modicum of job security, a voice in their workplace and a share in the institution’s power,” Goldberg said.

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