As the state of Indiana continues to reel from economic recession, President McRobbie’s raise to $533,120 for the 2011-12 academic year sparks controversy and anger from university employees whose pay increase will not match standard of living inflation for 2012.
After the Board of Trustees voted to increase Indiana University President McRobbie’s salary by 21.8%, Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4730 immediately called on the President to forgo all but 1.5% of the wage increase – the exact amount the majority of the campus’ employees and staff were given for the next fiscal year. CWA 4730 members are extremely frustrated by the enormous discrepancy in wage increases—especially given the high projected numbers for inflation in 2012. While the Board of Trustees claim to merely be honoring a pay increase which was approved last year, CWA 4730 is calling into question any such raise, retro-active or not. CWA 4730 is challenging both the Trustees’ and the President’s notion of decency and fairness in these tough economic times. At a time when staff wages fail to keep up with cost of living increases, CWA 4730 demands that President McRobbie be willing to stand with his employees in a sign of solidarity.
CWA 4730 has stated that they are not questioning the value of President McRobbie’s service or ability, but that this is a matter of shared sacrifice. CWA 4730 President Bryce Smedley said, “During difficult economic times, employees are hurting and do not see this as an appropriate time for the Trustees to be giving such astounding raises to any administrator. While Mr. Mark Land has stated that this increase has put President McRobbie’s pay rate right in the middle of wages for the Big Ten, he refused to acknowledge that this has kept IU support staff pay rates right smack dab at the bottom of the Big Ten. While many IU support staff are stuck with making hard choices and taking on second jobs, it’s frustrating to see our President make his fortune on the backs of a highly skilled but low paid workforce.”
Meanwhile, IUB Libraries are preparing for multiple staff layoffs, the Department of Continuing Studies is being discontinued, and other layoffs on the IUB campus are also imminent. The most recent raises in IU employee salaries did not keep up with increased employee costs such as healthcare and parking—nor did raises match increases in the standard of living for 2011. Workloads have increased as staffing levels have dropped, while student enrollment continues to increase. Moreover, current and incoming full-time students will pay a temporary repair and maintenance fee of $180 in the 2011-12 academic year and $360 the following year.
CWA 4730 President Bryce Smedley has said, “We all share in the sacrifice; President McRobbie should too. If we are forced to accept a 1.5% wage increase and suffer through these hard economic times, then it would be only fair that McRobbie swallow that same pill.” In December, 2008 President McRobbie sent out an email to all IU employees promising to freeze administrative salaries for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Apparently he failed to mention that they would make up for it the following year by paying themselves retroactively, and one can take as implied by this move that the IU administration believes the 'economic downturn' is over. If so, then tell that to some of the hard workers at IU who will be losing jobs in the near future due to cut-backs and budget shortfalls.
FOR FURTHER COMMENTS:
CWA 4730 Office – (812) 855-8508 Located at Indiana University Poplars Building Room 331
WHO IS CWA 4730? CWA 4730 – Represents 1,700 support staff at Indiana University Bloomington and IU Northwest in Gary, Indiana.