Earlier this month, Chancellor Steven Kaplan announced a 2% General Pay Increase (GSI) for much of the current faculty and staff.
Vice President of Finance and Administration George Synodi spoke further to clarify this financial decision.
He said beneficiaries include “the university’s non-union staff” and described the number of groups within the university’s faculty and staff who are part of separate unions, including police personnel and facility employees. For unionized workers, wage increases are determined by collective bargaining agreements.
Synodi said those who qualify are non-union employees who have worked for the university for a specified period of time; New lecturers and employees are not currently qualifying.
Synodi also spoke about the process of implementing the GSI increase. He explained how the university operates on a fiscal calendar – which runs from July 1st to June 30th, and therefore annual budgets are set around this time.
He said, “When we put together our annual budget plan, we incorporated the 2% into the budget plan.” He also said the university references Bureau of Labor Statistics records for the Northeast region for the values set for such raises determine.
Inflation rates are “higher than they have been in years,” Synodi said, which is why they have to reassess their annual budget. Before the pandemic, inflation rates in the region and across the country tended to stay in the 2-3% range, while they are now closer to 7-8%.
Synodi said the university considers factors such as the cost of living (COL) when determining employee salary changes. He also stressed the value of supporting workers through such economic factors in terms of valuing the retention of “good employees”.
In considering future GSI increases and other responses regarding salary requirements, Synodi said that “in order to remain competitive, we need to take this into account.”
In a different light, Synodi said the GSI boost did not divert funds from other areas of the university budget. Referring to concerns about a tuition increase, he said “absolutely not in the current year” as this request “has no budgetary implications”.
He said the raise was in response to the current economic climate, and while other universities are indeed granting higher raises, the University of New Haven is “simply not in a position to do so” at this time.
Sydoni expressed hope that inflation rates will slow, but in the meantime budgets would reflect COL needs at that point. This echoed Kaplan’s response, who said in his official statement, “While we must remain very strategic and fiscally prudent in the current higher education landscape, investing in and developing our people must remain our top priority.”
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