WEB UPDATE: University delays faculty and staff pay raises

Posted Friday, May 20, 11 p.m. GW’s Board of Trustees approved a six-month delay in faculty and staff pay raises Friday, making it the second time in three years that employees must wait 18 months for a salary increase that used to come every year.

The board voted in favor of a 6 percent pay raise to take effect January 2006 despite vocal faculty support in favor of a 3 percent increase this June. Trustees also approved the use of more than $1 million to go toward the average salaries of the University’s assistant and full-time faculty members.

At an emergency meeting of the Faculty Senate two weeks ago, some professors said the University was just trying to save money by delaying the raises.

In another development that will impact administration-faculty relations, the University’s thousands of part-time professors will unionize, following a verdict from the National Labor Relations Board this week. The decision brings an end to seven months of deliberations over disputed ballots from a unionization vote that took place in October. Some part-time professors have criticized GW for not paying them enough and providing inadequate benefits, and believe that unionizing would enhance their bargaining position.

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said a 6 percent increase in January will give professors’ salaries a boost over their counterparts at peer institutions. He added that the greater amount of funds to be allocated in January will help department chairs give raises to more professors.

“From a salary management point of view, if you’re a department chair and you’re trying to work with a pool of three percent to give raises to people, you don’t have a lot of flexibility because three percent doesn’t give you a lot of money to work with,” he said in a statement released Friday evening following the board meeting. “The result is that the money frequently gets smeared across like butter on a piece of hot toast – it’s done thoughtlessly.”

Trachtenberg added that the University does not plan on implementing a permanent 18-month raise cycle, and said he hopes to pass a 4 percent salary increase for faculty and staff in January 2007.

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