News: New contract ratified between faculty union and administration increases wages

BY EVAN PAPAS, Staff Reporter

A new contract between the Administration and the faculty union has resulted in raises for faculty for the next four years.

Last week Central Washington University and the United Faculty of Central ratified the collective bargaining agreement for 2013 to 2017.

This new contract helps to support the faculty union of Central while making it more appealing for prospective employees.

Roxanne Easley, the president of the UFC, said that the union is not only trying to protect and improve the faculty’s compensation but also their work.

The UFC’s general goals in the ratification of this agreement were to reward and retain quality faculty through improved compensation, as well as clarify and protect the faculty’s work in academics and research.

“It’s not just money, it’s who is in charge of what,” Easley said.

The new contract has changed and added a variety of elements.

Protection against conflict of interest with peers and students has been increased, librarians are now acknowledged as faculty, and a new parental leave section has given faculty with multi-year contracts up to six weeks of paid leave for childcare.

James Busalacchi, director of faculty and labor relations, said that while the previous contract was strong, this new version improves upon what we had.

“We are making a few changes here and there to strengthen it, and providing pay increase so the faculty can continue to do what they do,” Busalacchi said.

Holly Pinkart, bargaining chair at the UFC, said Central has been losing a lot of faculty due to compensation not measuring up to what other institutions are offering.

“The faculty hadn’t gotten any kind of cost of living increase since January 2009,” Pinkart said. “We’ve been losing a lot of faculty.”

This new contract will reward and retain quality faculty by increasing their compensation in regards to the national standards.

The new compensation plan includes a 3 percent base salary increase for exceeding academic expectations, a 5 percent increase by exceeding expectations in two of three areas, including teaching.

According to Busalacchi, there will be a universal faculty pay raise of 5 percent for the first year, 4 percent for the second and third years, and 3 percent for the last year.

Pinkart said these changes were made in order to recognize, retain, and reward quality staff and also help to recruit new staff as well.

“Further raises will be tied to how good of a teacher you are,” Pinkart said.

Improving the working environment for the faculty also benefits the students; by increasing the emphasis on quality teaching the students should receive a better learning experience.

“The more positive our working environment is, the better the learning environment is for students,” Easley said.

One thing that the UFC did have to scale back was the paid leave for sickness or injury.

“We formerly had 12 weeks of paid leave a year if we were injured or sick, but now it’s ten weeks,” Easley said.

Easley and Pinkart said that officially, they worked on the contract for six months, but in reality it was longer than that.

“It’s a serious time and effort commitment,” Pinkart said. “Everyone on the team contributed a lot.”

All efforts Central and the UFC put towards this agreement seems to have been worth it, as both groups are happy with the end result.

“This contract goes a long way to our shared academic goals,” Easley said. “We very much look forward to moving ahead.”

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