Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

November 9, 1995

Raises for lower-paid staff, faculty being considered by administration

Lower-paid Pitt faculty and staff would receive January 1996 salary increases of at least 2.7 percent, under a proposal that Provost James Maher has submitted to Interim Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.

Maher, who gave the proposal to Nordenberg yesterday, Nov. 8, would not say how his plan defines "lower paid." He declined to comment on the proposal except to say that he believes Nordenberg "will take this very seriously and try to implement it" — despite a number of potential "technical problems," which the provost would not specify.

"In developing this proposal, I took into account comments I received from the University Planning and Budgeting Committee [UPBC], the University Senate budget policies committee, the Deans Council and the Staff Association Council," Maher said. "The discussions I had with the members of those groups were confidential, so I don't feel it would be appropriate for me to comment publicly on the proposal at this point." Maher did confirm that his proposal calls for making raises payable with end-of-January paychecks to employees who were on the payroll as of June 30, 1995.

He also said that his proposal was based on general recommendations approved Oct. 30 by UPBC, a group of faculty, staff and administrators that advises the senior administration on budget and planning issues.

One of UPBC's recommendations was to give a cost of living raise (2.7 percent) to full-time faculty and staff earning $20,000 or less, with regular part-time employees receiving pro-rated raises equivalent to the ones for full-timers.

Following the Oct. 30 UPBC meeting, Provost's office staff calculated specific dollar amounts for various salary ranges, based on UPBC's recommendations and a pool of $1.4 million for January 1996 raises.

In a Nov. 6 memo to Maher, the Senate budget policies committee endorsed the detailed proposal it had received from the Provost's office. According to the Senate budget policies committee, the Provost's proposal recommended that:

* Full-time faculty and staff earning $23,000 or less would get raises of $540. For employees making $10,000 or lower, that would work out to a 5.4 percent raise. For those earning $10,001 to $11,000, $540 would amount to a 4.9 percent raise — and so on, by increments of $1,000, up to $23,000.

* Employees making between $23,001 and $35,000 would receive gradually decreasing dollar amounts ranging from $524 to $348. No raises would be given to employees earning more than $35,000.

* Raises would be retroactive to July 1, the beginning of Pitt's current fiscal year. * Employees of the medical school and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center would not be eligible for the increases.

Maher would neither confirm nor deny that those details matched the ones in the final proposal he submitted to Interim Chancellor Nordenberg.

In an interview yesterday, Nordenberg said he had not yet had time to review the proposal. But he said: "When the freeze on faculty and staff salaries was announced in April, statements were made by the University administration to the effect that a strong attempt should be made to provide some salary raises, at least for lower paid employees, at mid-year. Clearly, that remains a priority. As for this specific proposal, I would need to discuss it with the provost and others before making any final decision.

"Obviously, though, we can't wait too long before making a decision, considering that the raises would take effect with the January paychecks," Nordenberg added.

Maher estimated it would probably take the administration at least two weeks to work out the potential problems that he pointed out to Nordenberg.

Until recent weeks, Pitt's administration did not know whether there would be sufficient funds to grant salary raises during the current fiscal year. But $1.4 million — enough to fund the raises proposed by UPBC — became available through a larger-than-anticipated allocation from the state's Tuition Challenge Grants Program, said Ben J. Tuchi, senior vice chancellor for Business and Finance. The program rewards Commonwealth-funded universities financially for keeping tuition increases within limits set by the state government.

Maher's proposal, as presented to the University Senate budget policies committee and the Staff Association Council's executive committee and salary and job classification committee, has been endorsed by those groups. But all three committees emphasized that the January 1996 increases should not set a precedent for employee raises in future years.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 28 Issue 6

Leave a Reply