Archive for Thursday, January 9, 1992

CLASSIFIED WORKERS WANT LEGISLATURE TO OK PAY RAISES

January 9, 1992

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State university classified employees want the 1992 Legislature to approve a 7 percent cost-of-living increase and complete a program designed to bring salaries in line with the private sector.

"We're trying very hard to get a COLA this year a small one, something because, of course, our buying power is going downhill," Peggy Baker, president of the Kansas University Classified Senate said Wednesday.

"Seven percent may sound a little high, but it's below what the inflation rate has been the last two years," she said.

The Legislature didn't approve a COLA for state employees in the 1991 session. Only once in the past 10 years has the COLA increase matched inflation, Baker said.

About five years ago, the Legislature began reclassifying state jobs in an effort to raise salaries to a level comparable to similar positions in the private sector.

THAT PROGRAM was idled before it was finished due to lack of funding. Some university employees accountants and library technicians, for example were left out of the process.

"It hasn't been canceled, but we're waiting for funding from the Legislature," said Carol Dressler, past president of KU Classified Senate.

Reclassification and COLAs are the top priorities of the Kansas Council of Classified Employees, an umbrella organization for university classified employees from the six Kansas Board of Regents universities.

A position paper endorsed by the council includes a proposal to create a tuition and fee waiver for classified employees who want to take classes on a "space available" basis.

DRESSLER SAID a bill that would have provided the tuition and fee break died quickly during the 1991 session, most likely because it included a provision that included dependants of classified employees in the program.

"I think we should keep it simple. We should get it for ourselves first," she said.

KU employs 1,700 classified workers in positions ranging from secretaries to groundskeepers to maintenance workers.

The council's position paper also proposes:

Funding the annual 2.5 percent increase in the pay scale.

Modifying the retirement plan to move benefits closer to 80 percent of a person's working salary.

Adjusting the annual leave schedule so employees qualify for more vacation time in fewer years of service.

Improving health benefits at the lowest possible costs.

Developing subsidized child care.

Making university facilities and grounds handicap accessible.

Enhancing statewide recycling efforts.

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