- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

A months-long salary dispute between the University of the District of Columbia administration and faculty could be resolved soon, with the first cost-of-living adjustment for the faculty in nearly six years.

Instructors and academic department heads would receive a 6.4 percent pay raise, retroactive to October last year, if the D.C. Council approves the pact. A second 3 percent raise for both classifications of employees would be retroactive to this October.

D.C. Council members yesterday voted to place the compensation packages on the council’s agenda. Arte Blitzstein, the council’s budget director, said funds are available to cover both salary increases.

As reported earlier by The Washington Times, the proposed raise matches one given in June to nonunion workers, including the executive management team hired by university President William L. Pollard, many of whom earn more than $100,000 annually.

Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat, placed the measure on the legislative agenda for Jan. 6 and, once approved, Mayor Anthony A. Williams has 30 days to sign it before it becomes law.

The Times previously reported that members of the UDC Faculty Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, have worked without a contract since 1993 and without a cost-of-living adjustment since 1998. Contract negotiations stalled earlier in the year when the union turned down the administration’s offer of a 1 percent pay raise.

Friction arose between the faculty and the school administration when UDC board of trustees unanimously voted in June to give the school’s highest-paid administrators a 6.4 percent pay raise retroactive to October last year, even though the faculty still was without a contract.

The board later revoked the proposed raise and froze the pay of the administrators after faculty, students and the D.C. Council voiced disapproval.

The union membership rejected a subsequent contract offer, which included a 6.4 percent pay increase, but undercut job security.

After the faculty rejected that proposal, the board issued a statement that the proposal was “fair to the faculty, the university and the students.”

The faculty union amended the contract after the school administration agreed to employees’ demand for better job security. The union approved the contract on Sept. 12 by a 87-32 vote.

The new contact was “long overdue and we are pleased that it happened this fall,” board Chairman Charles Ogletree Jr. said after the contract was signed. “I was very pleased to see the board’s enthusiastic and unanimous support for the agreement.”

Under the new agreement, the administration will be required to consider an entire set of criteria when determining layoffs instead of picking and choosing from a list of criteria, as was allowed under the original contract.

The new contract also guarantees continuous job protection for teachers who will be ineligible for the school’s new tenure status. Most of the university’s professors and instructors already have equivalent job protection, though it is not called tenure.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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