wages debated by task force, Chancellor Boschini
members are looking for ways to battle problems in the
universitys wage system.
university staff members have to work two jobs to meet
their basic needs, staff members say.
Gerardo Ramirez, who has worked as a groundskeeper for
10 years, said there are many employees struggling just
Ive had two jobs since I started here, and
I can make you a list of all the people that work two
jobs to be able to make it, Ramirez said. I
hope they do something. Its hard.
A group of 16 staff members are trying to do something.
They are working to design a five-year plan to solve problems
in the universitys wage system and improve employees
benefits, said Carol Campbell, vice chancellor for finance
I think the need has been recognized in multiple
areas, Campbell said. Compensation is and
has been a long-standing issue of discussion at the Staff
Assembly, the Budget Advisory Committee, again, a number
Staff members from areas such as the Physical Plant, student
affairs, extended education, the library and advancement,
among others, are meeting biweekly as part of the Staff
Compensation Task Force to recommend changes to the compensation
Under former Chancellor Michael Ferrari, entering hourly
employees went from earning $5.73 to $8 over a period
of five years. In response to a request from the Staff
Assembly, Chancellor Victor Boschini created a representative
staff task force in the fall to set priorities for solving
the different compensation issues.
Tara Pope, a task force member, said currently more than
250 employees earn less than $20,000 a year.
While progress has been made, some housekeepers,
administrative assistants, groundskeepers and others cannot
live on TCU wages and must have second jobs and or receive
some kind of government assistance, Pope said.Campbell
said compensation is a major issue because administrators
have to use limited resources to accomplish many things.
Compensation pays for salaries, raises and the Tuition
Assistance Program, as well as health and retirement benefits.
University officials also try to reduce wage compression,
a problem created when newly-hired employees earn nearly
as much money as their senior co-workers and supervisors.
Ruben Ayala, a painter who has worked for 15 years at
the Physical Plant, said he thinks he has not received
fair raises compared with other employees.
Ive worked here for 15 years, and other employees
who have been here for two years are making as much as
I am, Ayala said. Sometimes Ive even
had to train them how to paint, and they are making as
much as I do.
John Weis, vice chancellor for human resources, said that
in the past 10 years, administrators have tried to tackle
problems in the wage system on a case-by-case basis.
We havent taken care of everything that we
need to take care of in compensation, Weis said.
The interest is in putting together a plan that
looks realistically at what we can do over the next five
years for staff compensation. Pope said insurance
costs are hitting employees pockets very hard.
The act of purchasing family health insurance shaves
off $2.28 per hour, reducing an $8 an hour employee to
$5.72 an hour, Pope said.
In 1999, insurance costs represented 1.2 percent of the
annual budget, Campbell said. In 2005, insurance would
represent 3.2 percent of the budget, she said.
Campbell and Weis said administrators are considering
joining with 27 other schools to create an insurance corporation
that would reduce increasing health-care costs for employees.
Boschini said administrators should have looked at that
This is something that should have been done 10
years ago, Boschini told faculty senators April
8. I just think it would have been a good idea for
all of the private schools in Texas to do this years ago,
as I believe it might have saved all of us some money
along the way.
Campbell said administrators are trying to deal with the
increased cost of benefits, such as health insurance and
the Tuition Assistance Program. She said benefits have
had a double-digit increase in the current annual budget.Without
joining the corporation, TCU employees insurance
premiums would increase 14 percent to 20 percent, Weis
said. If TCU joins, employees premiums would go
up about 6 percent, he said.
Last semester, administrators approved changes to the
Tuition Assistance Program to help reduce the cost of
benefits granted. Weis said despite efforts to reduce
expenses, the cost of employees benefits will increase
about $2 million next school year.
Weis said the task force is studying the wage system and
analyzing several compensation philosophies that could
be adopted, such as the living wage, a philosophy that
would pay each employee enough to support a family of
Pope, a horticultural assistant, said she would like the
task force to examine TCUs salaries in light of
the mission statement.I support a wage philosophy
that recognizes we are all members of the TCU community
and should be aware that currently some members are not
earning enough to live on, Pope said. I think
reconsidering our wage philosophy is necessary in aligning
our mission statement and our budget.
David Grebel, director of Extended Education, said employees
want opportunities to advance both within salary ranks
and in terms of job opportunities on campus.
Weiscq said administrators have not been successful in
their battle to solve the problems because of insufficient
funds. He said a comprehensive plan has to be developed
to address the issues.Campbell said the task force should
be done with its work by mid-fall 2004, because that is
when administrators start developing the annual budget
for the 2006-2007 school year. She said university officials
will pay close attention to the task forces recommendations.