Employee groups hit 'income gap' at UI

Employee groups hit 'income gap' at UI

Representatives of employee groups urged University of Illinois trustees Thursday to address a growing "income gap" at the university between highly paid faculty and administrators and lower-paid union and civil service workers.

Labor groups also rallied outside the meeting to protest raises for top UI administrators.

AFSCME negotiator Tara McAuley said the top 1 percent of employees earn as much as the bottom 10 percent. Salaries for the 50 highest-paid employees rose 16 percent over the last three years compared with 3.54 percent for the 50 lowest-paid workers, which doesn't cover the 7 percent inflation in that period, she said.

"Extreme disparity in wages from highest- to lowest-paid employees is inappropriate for a land grant university whose motto is 'Learning and Labor,'" added Professor Harriet Murav, president of the Campus Faculty Association.

Board Chairman Chris Kennedy talked later with McAuley, saying the board wants to pay workers a living wage and urging her not to make faculty "the enemy." Faculty pay is set by the market, he said.

"We can't say to doctors, 'There's a salary gap, we're going to pay you half as much.' They'll just go somewhere else," he said. "The enemy is an economic structure that's destroyed economic-social mobility in the last 25 years."

Trustees on Thursday approved a state budget request for the 2014-15 school year that seeks a $78.7 million in new money, mostly for salaries for faculty and staff. as well as facilities and utilities.

The operating budget for the current fiscal year, also approved Thursday, reflects a growing reliance on tuition and outside funding as state finances continue to slide.

It provides a 0.2 percent increase in state general funds for the UI, or about $1.2 million, to $668.7 million. Tuition revenue is budgeted at $1.06 billion — up 30 percent over the last three years — and grants and contracts are expected to contribute $772 million.

Another $759 million is budgeted from the UI's hospital and medical service plan, and $667 million will come from auxiliaries and other departments, plus institutional funds, gifts and endowments and student fees earmarked for deferred maintenance on facilities.

The state's pension and budget challenges, constraints on further tuition increases and declining federal research funding mean the university will have to look to private giving or internal reallocations to fund new intiatives, said Christophe Pierre, vice president for academic affairs.

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Bulldogmojo wrote on September 13, 2013 at 8:09 am

I find Chris Kennedy or any silver spoon Kennedy for that matter suspect on their "concern" for working people since Chris' father RFK spent a great deal of his legal career going after the teamsters.

"Chris Kennedy talked later with McAuley, saying the board wants to pay workers a living wage and urging her not to make faculty "the enemy." Faculty pay is set by the market, he said."...

Apparently Chris Kennedy has never read the responses on these articles about union wages and the pungent vitriol that gets levied against civil service by academics in these posts. 

So no, Mr. Kennedy there is a game of financial musical chairs going on with the remaining payroll dollars and we have no intention of being left without a chair when the music stops. Wise and her academic opportunists have never considered our interests so don't expect the same in return.

 

Joe American wrote on September 13, 2013 at 4:09 pm

It never ceases to amaze me that some people don't understand the concept behind supply and demand on workers and wages.  Not to undermine the contributions put forth by those in civil servant positions, but really, ANYONE can fill them.  Therefore the demand for those workers is low and the pay scale is much less than those positions that only a few can fill.  The fact alone that they don't understand this concept further reinforces the fact that they're in the career most suited for them.

Bulldogmojo wrote on September 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Joe American says..."Not to undermine the contributions put forth by those in civil servant positions, but really, ANYONE can fill them."

I wish Joe American had told us this before so that all the civil service

Nurses, Police, fireman, electricians, plumbers, pharmacy technicians, airplane repair engineers, mechanics etc. had spent all that time with all that stupid book learnin' and trainin' ya'll and just got all up in the human resource office and just said gimme dat thar job ya'll

Oh and yes Joe American is licensed to own firearms too.

What could go wrong?