Friday, December 16, 2005

News from the December 5 wage negotiations

As usual, please forward this information to your friends and coworkers.

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At the December 5 UMS Non-exempt wage reopener negotiations we learned the following:

That the UM System is still waiting for their budgetary marching orders from Annapolis.

Until then, their merit pay proposal hinges on three budget appropriation levels:

  • If the state increases the UMS budget by $100 million or more: 2.5 percent
  • If the state increases the UMS budget by $75 million or more: 1.5 percent
  • If the state increases the UMS budget by less than $75 million: 0 percent

Here are some facts and figures:

  • There are 21,000 full time equivalent (FTE) employees in the UM System. At this time we do not know if this number also includes faculty and management.
  • There are 9000 non-exempt FTEs.

At the moment, the UMS total "asking budget" (the total request for increased state appropriations) is approximately $135 million. The UMS negotiator claims that $75 million of the $135 million are "mandatory" increases.

Here is a partial list of "mandatory" increases:

  • Reimbursement for money borrowed
  • Staff merit raises
  • Facility renewal
  • Debt service for new buildings
  • Energy
  • Health care

The UMS negotiators claim that both health care and energy cost increases amount to $30 million. (Are you sure they bargain with the energy and health care providers as doggedly as they do with their employees?)

They claim that a 2.5 percent merit raise for all 21,000 UMS employees will cost approximately $27.5 million.

They claim that a 2.5 percent raise for the 9000 non-exempt workers will cost between $4 and $5 million. This is the only group that AFSCME represents at these negotiations!

The UMS negotiators continue to cry poverty. They want us to believe that we are asking them for $27 million in wage increases. THIS IS NOT TRUE!

It would certainly be "nice" for all 21,000 employees of the University System to get the same raises as bargaining unit employees. The UMS negotiators are holding non-exempt bargaining unit pay increases hostage in the name of "fairness." Fairness to the thousands of non-union employees in the UMS system.

There is a name for the UMS non-union employees who stand to benefit from the hard work of the union volunteers. That name is FREELOADERS.

The UM System negotiators claim that they include all the 21,000 employees in the raise package in the interest of fairness--fairness to the top earners, that is.

In the interest of fairness to the low-wage employees, we must not back down from our demand for a flat-rate (non percentage) wage increase.

You need to know what are we fighting for--

$4-5 million out of the UMS total request for state appropriations of $135 Million.

That is less than FOUR PERCENT of the UMS budget increase request. The UMS negotiators are telling you loud and clear that your raise is not worth FOUR PERCENT of their budget!

We believe that staff should be a priority--tell your Maryland state legislators that FOUR PERCENT of the UMS budget is the very least they can do.

Greg Johnson
President AFSCME Local 1072
University of Maryland College Park

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