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Former President Daniel Mark Fogel

Fogel New Parameters of Compensation_Jan07

To: University of Vermont Faculty, Staff and Students
From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
Date: January 25, 2007
Re: New UVM Parameters of Compensation

To the UVM Community:

UVM is an excellent place to work and to learn. We share a commitment to the concept of community. We value the contributions of all members of our community. And we endeavor to implement best practices in the workplace, including those relating to faculty and staff compensation.

Over the past year, the University has been asked to examine the issue of whether its lower-paid employees are able, through their wages, to meet basic needs. Last spring, I appointed a Basic Needs and Equitable Compensation Task Force, which issued a final report in November 2006.

Concurrently with this Task Force review process, contract negotiations with the United Electrical Workers, which represents UVM service and maintenance workers, concluded successfully. Our lowest starting wages for a full-time employee are now $10.60 per hour after the probationary period is completed (rising to $10.75 on July 1, and to $11.00 on July 1, 2008)—among the highest wages paid for these jobs by any Vermont employer. We further reduced health insurance and retirement plan costs for employees earning less than $12 per hour. Finally, lower-paid employees eligible to receive the UVM 10% contribution to their retirement accounts may, upon their own request, waive the otherwise required employee contribution yet still receive the retirement benefit. These recently negotiated measures—which the University has also voluntarily extended beyond the bargaining unit to all employees—represent substantial progress for our employees and the institution.

Following my in-depth review of these compensation issues, including the Task Force recommendations, I have concluded that UVM should more formally express its commitment to consider the basic needs of our employees in determining compensation. We have therefore developed a statement entitled Parameters for Compensation at UVM that, evolving from principles earlier developed at the University, will guide compensation planning effective immediately. The statement, (see below) which we are distributing with this email, departs from earlier UVM documents on compensation in two ways:

1) for the first time, it identifies attention to the basic needs of lower-paid employees as an element of equity to be considered, along with performance and market competitiveness, in de-termining compensation, and

2) it addresses the role of the collective bargaining process in determining compensation for represented employees.

I wish publicly to thank the members of the Task Force and the other members of the community who participated in its work, including, notably, Professor Jane Knodell, who served as chair. Their hard work and commitment have informed the evolution of UVM’s employment practices in ways that are significant and deeply imbued with the core values of our University.

Parameters for Compensation at The University of Vermont

UVM’s approach to compensation supports and advances our vision of being the nation’s premier small public research university, committed to providing an exceptional educational experience to our students and to fulfilling our research and service missions. All that we do, including compensating employees, must serve these purposes.

Recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty and staff and assessing and rewarding their performance are essential elements of our ability to succeed. UVM is committed to compensating employees competitively and equitably, always with attention to student affordability and within the scope of available resources.

UVM compensation is guided by these parameters:

Compensation should be determined based on the following factors:

  • Performance, including advancement of University and unit vision, mission, and goals
  • Market competitiveness
  • Equity, including attention to basic needs
  • Recognition of the role of collective bargaining for unionized employees

Compensation equity encompasses several important factors, including awarding salary and benefits in a lawful, non-discriminatory manner. It also includes acknowledgment of the costs of living in this geographic area and the institutional interest in assisting employees, especially lower-paid employees, in meeting their basic needs. In doing so, we also recognize, and address where feasible, the differing impacts that required employee contributions to benefits have on employees at various compensation levels.

Compensation will be viewed as salary/wages plus benefits (total compensation).

In determining total compensation, the University recognizes that compensation rates for employees who are unionized are set through a collective bargaining process. As part of that process, the union has the right and obligation to bargain for compensation levels that reflect the needs and priorities of the employees it represents. Although the University can, during bargaining, express its own goals and priorities regarding compensation, the bargaining process resolves differences in perspective through negotiations and the resulting bargaining agreement.

Last modified February 04 2007 08:09 AM

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