January 22, 1990: Volume 1, Number 2
“Sadly Short,” by The Salary Committee
The day before the second semester began, the administration made its long-awaited response to the faculty’s list of salary demands. This was a welcome relief after the previous, pre-holiday meeting in which the administration wasted the time of all concerned by asking for “further elaboration” of the faculty’s demands. Those requirements had been presented clearly and concisely by the faculty to the administration more than a month earlier.
The administration’s offer represents real movement—but not nearly enough. Progress has been made on a number of fronts, but overall the proposal falls sadly short of the faculty’s demands. The salary committee is insisting that the faculty’s position is reasonable. The report by Dr. Richard Weber, the faculty’s financial analyst, confirms this. Satisfying our requirements would not present a hardship to the University. We have taken fair positions on legal issues, salary increases, and benefits, especially in view of the poor contracts forced on us by the administration in past years. Now that we are organized, we can oppose unacceptable terms from a position of strength. Our contracts have been dismal for so many years that we haven’t advanced even as far as public school teachers, as you will discover by reading John Orman’s article in this issue.
The important point now is to remain firm in our original list of demands. It’s more clear than ever that they are reasonable and right. We look forward to being able to report more progress in the early part of February.
“Action Committee Meets,” by Don Greenberg
On January 16, 1990 the Faculty Action Subcommittee of the Faculty Welfare Committee met with Mark Blum of the national AAUP office. The subcommittee discussed a wide range of appropriate actions that faculty might take to underscore our commitment to equity and quality education. The subcommittee is establishing a telephone communication network to ensure that all faculty can be notified of any proposed actions or information in a timely manner.
COME TO THE WEBER PRESENTATION ON THE 26TH.
GET YOUR FWC BUTTON AND WEAR IT PROUDLY.
“Fairfield University Professors Make Less Than Public School Teachers!” by John Orman
After examining data from the Connecticut Education Association (Teachers’ Salary Schedules 1989-90 and Preliminary Report on Teachers’ Salary Schedules 1990-91 and 1991-92 and Fairfield Education Association Propose Changes to Collective Bargaining Agreement), I came to the shocking realization that teachers in Connecticut public schools make more money than I do as a full professor at Fairfield University. Presumably these public school teachers are engaged in preparing most of their students for that great college and university experience. Ironically, it is the preparer for the college education who makers more money than the provider of that college education.
I graduated in 1971 with a BA in political science. If I had chosen to be a high school civics teacher then in Connecticut, I now would be working in my 19th year of high school teaching with 18 years of experience. I would have gotten my MA during the summer and my 6th year degree in the summer. Had I chosen that path, I would be making more base salary in a Fairfield County teaching job than I currently make in my base salary at Fairfield University. Something is dramatically wrong here and I am offended.
If I were teaching in the following local public schools this year, I would be receiving these kinds of salaries: [Salary chart from Danbury to Wilton public schools follows.] As a full professor since 1987 at Fairfield University, I earn a base salary below every one of these Fairfield Country salaries.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love public school teachers. In fact, I am married to one. I think public school teachers should be compensated at their current Connecticut salaries, or more. However, I am amazed that I work at an institution that has systematically let faculty salaries drop to the point where they trail the salaries of local public school teachers. How is it that the local 1st grade teacher, the 8th grade social studies teacher, and the local high school civics teacher with the same amount of combined post graduate work and teaching experience all make more money than a Fairfield University professor? This injustice applies to Assistant Professor and Associate Professor ranks as well. Why? …
I would guess that the Board of Trustees and the parents of our students do not realize that local public school teachers are compensated more than Fairfield University professors. I’ll bet U.S. News and World Report, which placed Fairfield University in one of its top ten categories, does not know that Fairfield University administrators do not value the worth of the faculty as highly as the local school districts value their teachers….
Obviously, I did not select college teaching because I was dedicated to making money, but I did expect to be fairly compensated for my professional and teaching abilities. I expected to be able to keep up with the cost of living, to buy a house, and to send my kids to college. I had no idea that I could better reach these goals if I had decided to be a 7th grade social studies teacher instead of a college professor with a PhD….
“Comments on the Administration’s Personnel Brief of December 13th”:
Here is the text of the Faculty Welfare Committee’s official response to the Personnel Brief of December 13th, written by the Chair and Secretary of the Committee [Kevin Cassidy and Mariann Regan] and sent in a letter to Steve Jakab on January 4th:
We are writing in response to your recent Personnel Brief #156 in which you discuss budget planning and compensation considerations. We are concerned about certain aspects of this statement that might distort the faculty’s position or characterize the faculty in an untrue or unfair manner:
First, the Brief states that budget planning is now “more difficult than ever before” and that “compensation issues are more complex than would normally be expected.” The tone here might possibly be read to imply that these unusual difficulties and complexities have been created by faculty organization, and that faculty action—rather than, for example, any lack of responsiveness on the part of the administration—is the only source of trouble. The tone is similar to certain portions of the interview you granted to the Mirror last fall in which you stated, for instance, that the faculty was the only group to voice any objection to the administration’s change in health benefits. We are reminded of those past statements to parents from the President’s office, which have implied that faculty salary increases were the major cause of rising tuition. Written statements like all of these can work as subtle means of portraying the faculty as antagonists in contrast to the administration’s more benevolent or heroic role.
Second, the Personnel Brief also states that “all University employees participate in changes equitably and enjoy improvements on a uniform basis.” This statement reiterates by implication the administration’s longstanding argument that the faculty in effect negotiates for the staff as well as itself. While it is true that the faculty are sympathetic to the concerns of the staff, our position as a faculty is that we are negotiating for no one but ourselves. The administration, not the faculty, is responsible for the staff. It is the right of the staff, if they wish, to organize in whatever manner they choose. While the faculty will not actively involve themselves in any efforts by the staff to organize, the faculty would look supportively upon any such efforts. In fact, public law encourages this kind of organization through the National Labor Relations Act. Indeed, we find it unseemly that the administration of this Catholic institution has expended so much time and effort in recent years to dissuade the staff from organizing, a right which the Church insisted on for all working persons 100 years ago in Rerum Novarum. If the administration continues to insinuate that the staff should not and need not organize because faculty will somehow bear responsibility for negotiating staff raises, then the faculty must continue to uncover and refute that insinuation.
We want to make it clear that we are unwilling to accept any public distortions or insinuations, however inadvertent these may be, that portray the faculty as either campus antagonists or as the ones primarily responsible for staff salaries. We are also unwilling to accept any written or rumored suggestions that faculty salary demands will somehow cause other groups on campus to suffer through deprivations or cutbacks. We will reply publicly in our Faculty Welfare Committee Newsletter to any such suggestions or implications…. We realize that unfair characterizations of the faculty can be unintentional, and we hope that these can be avoided in the future.