USM Enacts Work-to-Rule
Independent panel concludes University should increase educator pay, could attract qualified faculty and more students
An independent panel appointed by Maine Labor Relations Board concluded the University of Maine system should increase the salary of faculty members. This conclusion came after contract negotiations
between the University and the unit representing the faculty, the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine (AFUM) failed to reach an agreement.
“Faculty members on University of Maine System (UMS) campuses are taking the moral high ground and accepting the report of the independent panel. The findings of the panel do not give the faculty everything we asked for, but that’s why it is called negotiations…everyone must give a little for the greater good of the student,” said Ron Mosley, Professor of business and law at the University of Maine at Machias.
AFUM proposed 4% across-the-board pay increases in each year of a two year contract. The administration proposed 0.5% per year. The panel recommended 1.5% the first year and 3% the second year. This is a compromise AFUM members can accept and should be agreed upon.
“By denying faculty members their raises the UMS cannot remain competitive and therefore cannot attract students. UMS continually loses good faculty members to the University of Massachusetts and other New England universities because UMS compensation averages $5,800 to $10,700 less than other comparable New England public institutions,” said Mosley.
The increase the independent panel suggests accounts for .04% of the UMaine System’s overall budget. The fact-finding panel also concluded the University system has the money to pay for the raises. Thepanel found, based research from the annual system budget, the overall financial condition is improving based in part because of the work of the faculty. The financial report, as presented by auditors, shows from 2009 to 2012 total UMS net assets (or profits) increased by $173 million.
The report goes on to say:
“From a liquid funds standpoint, UMS has the money to pay the raises proposed by the Association” (pg. 21).
“The Panel’s recommendation is purposely designed to: (i) take account of all the relevant facts, (ii) but in particular that UMS’s overall financial condition has steadily improved since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, (iii) partly due to the work, efforts and sacrifices of faculty members” (pg. 26).“
It is understood that the system needs to maintain reserves for operating costs. However, a public institution should not turn a large profit. The university reserves more than doubled since 2009 and in the past three years profits totaled $173 million. During that same three year period across-the-board faculty salary increases totaled zero. AFUM believes part of the University system’s large profit can be used to pay for faculty raises,” said Mosley.
Faculty members are now discussing what action to take as they work without increased pay and without a contract. Some UMaine campuses have already enacted a ‘work to rule’ order where faculty only do work as mandated in their contract. ‘Work to Rule’ has a deep impact on University functions and is being considered as an option at each campus until negotiations are agreed upon. The full FY2012 UMaine system Annual Financial Report as presented by the auditors is available at http://www.maine.edu/pdf/annrpt12.pdf
AFUM is an affiliate of the National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers and of the Maine Education Association a democratic professional organization advocating for its 25,000 members while inspiring them to be leaders in the educational process. AFUM represents nearly 1,200 faculty statewide in the University of Maine System.