Approved UA operating budget doesn’t include pay raises for non-union employees

A $917 million University of Alaska system operating budget for next year, approved by UA regents, does not include non-union employee pay raises.

UA president Jim Johnsen addressed the lack of pay increases when rolling out the FY19 budget request for regents at a meeting Thursday.

“I think it’s realistic, given our state and our university’s fiscal situation, but I don’t think it’s a good thing,” Johnsen said.

Faculty Alliance chair Lisa Hoferkamp also spoke to regents about the issue.

“I hope you will please keep in mind that adequate compensation is crucial to retention and recruitment of high quality faculty and staff,” Hoferkamp said. “Without offering competitive salaries that take into account cost of living differential, UA’s challenges, including accreditation, enrollment as well as many others, will not only continue, but I believe they will worsen.”

FY19 will be the second year in a row that non-union staff and faculty have not received a salary increase. Staff alliance chair Kara Axx echoed concern about pay stagnation.

“It’s been a while for an increase, and we’re all taking on additional responsibilities at the same time,” Axx said.

Axx noted that staff councils at each campus are looking into unionization.

“The staff councils have started collecting feedback from each campus to determine if unionization would be in the best interest of the staff,” Axx said.

Axx applauded an announcement by President Johnsen that a pay comparison study is in the works: what he described as “a thorough external and internal salary and benefits analysis.”

Johnsen said the research will likely be contracted, with results available in the spring in time for consideration of pay in the following year’s budgeting process.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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