Friday, May 25, 2001

UC faculty state case for raise

University says budget's tight

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The University of Cincinnati will need more than $17 million for cost-of-living raises during the next three-year faculty contract, the professors' union estimated Thursday.

        But UC officials said it will cost a lot more than that — and would come at the expense of students, other em ployees and programs.

        If UC comes up with the money, it would beat recent contracts that fell behind inflation, Joe W. Fisher, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), said at a briefing.

        No pay proposal is on the table because negotiations have not begun.

        AAUP's negotiating goal is annual increases of 1.5 percent over inflation because it would double a professor's purchasing power over a 30-year career.

        Inflation is about 3.6 percent in the current year, so AAUP's goal would be 5.1 percent for the first year of the new contract which begins Sept. 1.

        The extra 1.5 percent would come from savings as better-paid senior faculty retire and are replaced, Dr. Fisher said.

        AAUP hasn't achieved its contractual ideal in more than a decade.

        UC spokesman Greg Hand said AAUP underestimates the cost of its salary goal. Mr. Hand said AAUP's $123 million salary estimate was high or low, depending on whether grant-funded professors were included.

        However, using AAUP's figure, Mr. Hand said three 5.1 percent annual increases would cost UC $19.8 million over three years plus $3.6 million in benefits tied to pay raises.

        Ohio's subsidy won't rise during the next two years, Mr. Hand said, so UC would cover that salary increase by raising tuition 7.4 percent and 7.7 percent for UC's more than 29,000 students or cutting its annual budget by 2.75 percent.

        If no new state money arrived during the third year of the contract, Mr. Hand said, tuition would rise another 8.1 percent or budget cuts would continue.

        Even measured against Ohio's teaching subsidy, UC faculty have done badly, according to AAUP spokesman John Brackett. He said UC's annual Ohio subsidy rose a total of 36 percent from 1993 to 2000, but average salaries among the 1,990 faculty represented by AAUP rose 19 percent.

        When UC/AAUP negotiations begin this summer the union plans to focus on income sources other than the subsidy: tuition, grants, endowment income, etc.

        AAUP says some of that money could be shifted to faculty salaries. Drs. Brackett, Fisher and others said that averted a 1998 faculty strike but left them suspicious of UC claims that a static state subsidy dooms pay significant increases.

        Mr. Hand said UC expects little new state support.


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- UC faculty state case for raise
Tristate A.M. Report