University of Nebraska ordered to pay salary increases for faculty at UNK, UNO
Lincoln, Neb. -- The University of Nebraska has been ordered to pay a 4.4 percent salary increase to faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a 4.3 percent pay increase to faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, for each year of the 2007-2009 biennium. The salary order came from Special Master Dr. Peter Feuille, a labor relations professor at the University of Illinois who was selected to serve as an independent arbitrator as required by the State Employees Collective Bargaining Act. UNK faculty have ratified the salary agreement, and UNO faculty are expected to do so later this month.

The Special Master’s charge was to mediate the “final offers” between the university and the faculty at UNK and UNO, according to NU Assistant Vice President and Director of Human Resources Ed Wimes, who serves as the university’s chief negotiator. The state’s collective bargaining law requires such salary disputes be submitted to a Special Master when negotiations reach an impasse.

Dr. Feuille ruled in favor of the union’s final offer, chosen as the most reasonable approach to achieving salary comparability among designated peer institutions. The university’s lower offer was rejected. The Special Master determined that UNO and UNK faculty salaries lag behind both peer and regional markets.

UNK and UNO are the only two campuses with collective bargaining units. However, pay increases awarded to UNK and UNO have broader effects because they are generally used to create a framework for setting salaries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center as well. When setting faculty salaries at UNL and UNMC, the university must consider both the Special Master’s ruling and a Board of Regents policy that requires setting benchmarks for faculty compensation at the midpoint of peers. Salary studies conducted by the university show that both UNL and UNMC faculty salaries are farther behind peers than are UNO and UNK, according to Wimes. Non-faculty staff salaries university-wide are also below peer averages.

The ordered pay increases have significant budget implications for the university. Although the university’s state appropriation for 2007-09 will not be determined until later this spring, the current recommendation from the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee would provide only enough revenue to fund a 2.0 percent salary increase for NU faculty and staff. To meet the Special Master’s pay order and provide comparable (4.4 percent) salary increases for faculty and staff on all campuses would require an increased state appropriation of 4.6 percent, or 2.6 percent more than the current recommendation, according to Wimes.

For additional information contact:
Sharon Stephan
(402) 472-7554
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For campus-specific comments:
UNK: Curtis Carlson (308) 865-8529
UNO: Timothy Kaldahl (402) 554-3502

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