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Staff Senate

Note from UW Staff Senate Regarding Salary Distribution

On March 7, 2014, Pres. Jim Logue sent the following letter to UW Pres. McGinity and other administrators regarding Staff Senate recommendations for the distribution of salary increases at UW:

 

"President McGinity –  

On behalf of the University of Wyoming Staff Senate, I would like to thank you and your stalwart staff in your efforts toward securing salary increases for UW employees for the next two fiscal years.  We understand the unique travails and challenges that our State’s legislative process presents and we appreciate your advocacy.  

The Executive Committee of the Staff Senate, on behalf of all staff, asked me to relay some thoughts and concerns about salary distribution plans as you begin deliberations on how to proceed.  In the UW press release of March 3, 2014, it was stated that:  

”The university has not yet established a policy for distributing the pay raises, but plans call for them to be based largely on merit, taking into consideration employees’ performance reviews and individual salary market comparators.”  

I’m sure it will be no surprise that staff have expectations when they hear of efforts toward salary increases, whether it be the 5% increase of the original request, the 2.5% per year proposed by the Governor, or the net 2% per year that appears to be the final figure.  Since the Governor’s original proposal included an additional appropriation to be applied to merit-based needs, staff naturally concluded that the general salary hike would be applied across the board to address salary stagnation since 2009.  I feel it is very important that you know that UW staff are fully expecting that 2% increase in their paycheck.  While the Senate does not wish to reward underperforming staff with undeserved compensation, it is the body’s belief that any work performed for the University over the past five years of layoffs, budget cuts, increased workloads, stagnate salaries, and general inflation should be considered meritorious in itself.  

The Senate does recognize that UW Administration needs to address salary compression and other compensation issues to ensure that employee retention and recruitment can proceed as well as possible.  We also acknowledge that since the salary increase will be granted to the University as a block of money, it is tempting (and traditional) to reserve a portion of that block to address the pressing compensation concerns of your administrators.  We ask that you consider minimizing such practices to allow for a more impactful increase to staff salaries.  It is my understanding that the current 2% increase will effectively bring salaries up to the level they should have been in 2009.  Any reduction of the salary pool that can be applied to staff will only diminish this very modest gain.  

The Senate Staff Relations Committee is in the midst of compiling salary and local economic data and while their efforts are on-going, it is clear that the lack of raises since 2009 has adversely affected staff at the lower pay grades, putting many at or near state poverty levels.  The Senate would ask you and your staff to consider a graduated application of salary increases that could help to address this problem.  Specifically, and for example, consider applying a net 4% raise to pay grades 10 through 14, 3% to grades 15 through 19, 2% to grades 20 through 24, and 1% to grades 25 and above.  An equivalent strategy could be applied to faculty salaries as well.  I don’t have access to the data, nor the math skills to confirm this, but my sense is that this may free up some funds to contend with compression and other salary concerns, but also improve staff morale while addressing some very real economic pressures.  

Again, the UW Staff Senate appreciates the hard work that went into this legislative cycle.  We appreciate this opportunity to contribute some thoughts on salary distribution and look forward to continued communication on the matter.  

Sincerely,

 

Jim Logue

UW Staff Senate President"

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