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OS Council Supportive of Wage Freeze

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 15, 2009

The general consensus of OS Council representatives is one of support for the wage freeze recently implemented by President Mark Huddleston for non-union employees earning more than $40,000. At the same time, many councilors expressed hopes that all UNH employees would also share the burden of trying to offset the university’s budget deficit.

During their regular monthly meeting, the OS representatives agreed they would rather see a wage freeze than have people lose their jobs.

Chairman Matty Leighton provided a compilation of comments on the president’s budget received from OS constituents. A repeated concern noted was for longtime OS workers whose earnings may be over $40,000 because of longevity pay; the sense was these employees who had given the most service and shown the most loyalty are being impacted. Another issue was drawing the line at $40,000; people questioned how the figure was reached.  Was it arbitrary, or was it determined that freezing wages above that level would recoup a specific amount of money?

There was also the suggestion that the university offer another early retirement package.

Cost-cutting suggestions can be made at budget.suggestions@unh.edu.  All of the ideas will be reviewed by the President’s Cabinet and the Central Budget Committee.

Questions were asked regarding a possible furlough; whether it would include faculty or be only for those employees not covered by collective bargaining and if leave time could be used as it is during the winter break.

In other news, the council discussed implementing a survey to chart the movement of workers from OS to PAT positions. The goal, Leighton said, is to determine if the notion that there are obstacles to doing so is a perception or a reality, and, if it is a reality, how best to create a culture that supports promotion from within.

The group is also still working to reduce excess paper use on campus. During the month of March, Dining Services in Holloway Commons collected 50 pounds of unsolicited mail.

Leighton asked councilors to come up with lists of places paper reduction can be implemented while still providing pertinent information to employees who don’t have easy access to computers.

The next OS Council meeting is set for May 13 in the board of trustees meeting room at Thompson Hall.

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