Dear AU Community,
I want to update you on some important developments in AU’s ongoing work to support our people. In the university’s two-year budget, we made the largest investment in staff and faculty compensation on record, as well as significant increases in student financial aid. These people-centered initiatives are a top priority and there are two substantial efforts that will ramp up over the next several months. We are continuing our compensation investments, and the adjunct faculty, graduate student employees, and Provost/Enrollment division staff bargaining units have voted to ratify their respective contracts. Elements of the staff contract related to compensation and benefits will also apply to staff members in comparable positions who are not represented by the union. The compensation investments and the implementation of the agreements advance our commitments to our people and support our equity goals.
In June, we launched the external conditions adjustment, performance-based compensation increases, and term faculty salary measures as the first steps of our planned investments in our people. We are now moving forward with additional compensation and equity elements planned for this fiscal year, many of which are also included in the collective bargaining agreements. These investments will provide additional support for the staff and faculty that are at the heart of AU.
The actions will improve internal and external equity, promote retention, and recognize long-serving staff members. We are intentionally focused on supporting members of our community at the lower end of the payscale. Following market-based adjustments to pay bands that occurred in July, we will now implement the following measures that will give approximately two-thirds of our staff (both unionized and those not represented by a union) some level of compensation and/or benefit enhancement. Over the next several months, we will:
- Eliminate the lowest two staff pay bands and move employees in those bands up to the next level. This change will be retroactive to July 1, and increases in affected employees’ paychecks will begin later this fall.
- Provide compensation increases to staff members making less than $100,000 per year who have worked full-time at AU for 5, 10, and 15-plus years. The increases will begin in January 2023.
- Expand the university health insurance subsidy for both individual and family coverage to those making up to $55,000 per year (the previous limit was $45,000 per year). The expanded subsidy will begin in January 2023.
Human Resources will be providing additional information during the fall semester and offering guidance to help supervisors share details with staff. A webinar will be conducted on Wednesday, September 28 at 11:00 am to engage with community on these developments, and we will announce the date, time, and method for submitting questions in the coming days. Beginning in October, we will also be hosting sessions to help community members learn more about the university budget and how it supports our strategy, mission, and people.
Contract Ratification and Implementation
The now-ratified collective bargaining agreements with the adjunct faculty, graduate student employees, and Provost/Enrollment division staff (and the previously completed contract with SAG-AFTRA for the WAMU creative staff) reflect the principles that guided our approach throughout the negotiations—focus on our people, advance equity, and manage the university’s resources. You can read more about the agreements below and in our new one-page summaries. Details will be shared with supervisors so they can update their staff, and questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post answers on the labor relations website.
Minimum per course compensation for adjunct faculty will increase in each year of the contract. Adjunct faculty members already above the new compensation baselines will receive a 4 percent increase. Additionally, the university will provide private space for adjunct faculty to meet with students and increase the professional development funding available to adjunct faculty.
Provost and Enrollment Division Staff
The ratified contract is based on progress made throughout the negotiations, the university’s equitable proposals, and the willingness of both parties to compromise. While progress was not always easy, the agreement is an important step forward. The contract includes non-compensation provisions such as a joint labor-management committee for ongoing dialogue. Unit members will receive a 3 percent across-the-board compensation increase, and an additional 1 percent performance pay pool will be available. Also reflected in this contract is the elimination of the lowest two pay bands, the additional compensation increases based on full-time years of service for unit members making less than $100,000 per year, and the increased health insurance subsidy for employees making up to $55,000 per year.
Graduate Student Employees
The three-year agreement creates new compensation minimums for PhD stipends and increases hourly rates for PhD and MA student workers and WCL Dean’s Fellows. The minimums increase in each year of the contract. The university will also extend health insurance coverage for PhD candidates for an additional fifth year after their program funding concludes and increase professional development funding available to graduate student employees.
These people-focused initiatives are central to our mission, and their implementation will be a cornerstone of our work throughout the year. Within our focus on scholarship, learning, and community, we will advance our commitment to improving how AU works and supporting the people who make AU a special place.