WSU members mobilizing after management rebuffs wage re-opener



rod2WSU management turns down union’s wage re-opener proposal

In negotiations Friday (Jan. 10) on the wage re-opener provisions of the current, Washington State University 2013-2015 contract, the union presented facts to support a 4 percent COLA – but WSU management turned thumbs down.

The Federation’s Bargaining Team will meet next week to plan next steps, including activating WSU workers for fair and meaningful cost-of-living increases.

Today’s events at the bargaining table in Pullman came after months of investigating Washington State University’s finances. Our union presented a proposal to the WSU management team that would increase WFSE-represented classified staff salaries by a 4 percent across-the-board cost-of-living adjustment. It is clear from our investigation that WSU has the ability to fund across-the-board salary increases out of existing university funds.

WSU turned down our union’s proposal for a 4% Cost of Living increase.

Instead, once again, WSU management is asking someone else – the state Legislature – for additional money to pay for 4 percent classified staff increases, which can already be paid out of local funds. We believe this is the same type of proposal WSU’s management tried to make before — that IF the state Legislature funds the increases for classified staff, ONLY THEN will WFSE-represented union members receive the same payments.

The fact is that the state Legislature is still suffering from the worst budgetary environment since the Great Depression, and it is nearly impossible that such a funding request for additional money to pay for classified raises would be approved. WSU management’s response to our union — of asking the Legislature for more money to pay for classified raises — lacks any real chance of ever happening in the state Legislature’s current fiscal environment.

Additionally, the university DID NOT ask for money to pay for the 4 percent raises that faculty and administrative professional staff are receiving, effective Jan. 1, 2014. WSU is simply paying for faculty and administrator raises out of existing local funds. On the west side of the state, the University of Washington is increasing salaries for WFSE members by a total of 4 percent over two years. That’s right — WFSE represents the same types of employees at the UW, and the UW is paying for 4 percent salary increases from local funds.

WSU is using this tactic to have someone else – the state Legislature – say no to us, thereby having a third party take the blame for management’s refusal to fund meaningful salary increases for WFSE-represented classified staff.

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