07/22/20 Update on Negotiations with the Wilson Administration

Negotiations with the Wilson Administration

Charles J. Parrish, President

WSU AAUP-AFT, Local 6075

Your Union is presently engaged in a negotiation with the Wilson Administration over their proposal that we give up our raises for this year as a contribution to the financial well-being of the University. Our response has been a proposal that the Administration be willing to address some parts of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that we believe can be changed to provide better conditions for a significant number of our members. So far, the Administration has not been willing to discuss anything beyond what our members might give up financially. However, regular meetings of negotiators on both sides continue to be scheduled. A significant context of the discussions has been the considerable expansion of the managerial class at the University over the period of the Wilson Administration and the concomitant contraction of the number of members of or bargaining unit. Moreover, the disproportionate allocation of resources to the salaries of administrators, including the President, has been a characteristic of the Wilson Administration.

Administrative Bloat. There are several dimensions that make the Union look with a jaundiced eye on the proposal that the Faculty and Academic Staff give up their raises for this year to help the financial problems of the University as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. First, the record of the Administration on allocating resources for the expansion of the management class at the University is clear. The Administration has stated that 47% of the General Fund is devoted to the salaries and benefits for the 1800 or so members of the Faculty and Academic Staff. In contrast, it admits that 37% of it goes to the many non-represented administrators. The top managerial class sector of these administrators has expanded by 22% since President Wilson was hired in 2013, from 259 to 315 persons. Simply put, administrative bloat is an important source of costs to the University. Considering the sacrifices already made, and continuing, by our members in the present crisis, we are loath to agree to salary concessions in addition to these. It is the Union’s position that administrative costs must be addressed before we can agree that our members should give up a single dollar of their negotiated raises for this year.

Unknown Revenue. Second, what the final financial situation of the University will be at the outset of the fiscal year on October 1st is unknown. Student tuition income is the major source of funding (63% in 2019-2020) and how many students are coming to the University this fall is uncertain. The latest report on July 20th, is that we are ahead of last year’s registration rate as of the same date last year. At the undergraduate level, it is up by 4.45%, and overall, it is ahead by almost 2%. Until the final registration results are in, we will not know what tuition income will be for the year.

Financial Analysis. Third, the Union has commissioned an analysis of the financial situation of the University and what alternatives we might look to in order to get through the present crisis. The analysis will explore alternatives for addressing the many financial shortfalls that will result from the present crisis. As soon as the analysis is done, we will share it with the Administration, our members and the public.

Presidential Compensation. Fourth, the controversy continues over the extremely lucrative contract awarded President Wilson with the key votes of the two lame-duck members of the Board of Governors (BOG) in their last meeting before leaving the Board, having been defeated in the November, 2018 elections. This vote initiated the split on the BOG that continues until today. In the midst of the present situation in which the Administration is maintaining that there are serious financial challenges, President Wilson is scheduled to get a raise in total compensation on July 31st from $654,419 to $904,000, a 38% increase (his compensation includes deferred income). There has been no suggestion the President will not accept his increase while asking our members to give up their 2.5% raise for the year. The combined amount of the raise for our members is $6.6 million. This means, that of the amount we are being asked to give up, about 4% will go to the compensation increase for President Wilson.

The table below from The Chronicle of Higher Education shows a result that richly favors President Wilson's personal situation. The compensation of the WSU presidents increased by 70% over nine years. President Wilson’s contract raises his compensation by the end of this month to $904,000, a rise in WSU presidential compensation of 137% over what it was a decade ago. Nice job if you can keep it!

Conclusion. Finally, we are being asked to give up our raises for the year by a President who has not thought carefully enough about the overall situation. We need documentation of what sacrifices the administrators, including President Wilson, are making before we will agree to any plan that involves our members sacrificing their annual raise this year. Everyone should remember, we have pledged that any proposal that is agreed to will be submitted to our members for ratification.

Also, please see the attached presentation, "Wilson by the Numbers."

We will keep you updated.

Sincerely,

Charlie

--Charles J. ParrishPresident, AAUP-AFT, Local 6075, WSU ChapterVice President-at-Large, AFT MichiganPresident, AAUP Michigan ConferenceMember-at-Large, National Council, AAUP5057 Woodward Avenue, Suite 3301Detroit, MI 48202313.577.1750