In a letter to faculty and staff last Tuesday, University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks proposed various pay cuts to all employees to help combat cuts expected to come from the state Legislature.
The University would save about $28 million as a result of reductions in pay, energy and operating costs and delays in planned pay raises. The temporary fix would only last one year and would replace the mandatory three-day furlough plan originally outlined by Bruininks.
The move is meant to address the University’s budget shortfall for 2010-11, which could total $132.2 million if Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed $36 million in cuts to University funding are adopted by the Legislature.
According to the e-mailed announcement, hourly employees would still take three unpaid days off during winter break, which would amount to the 1.15 percent cut. Other employees, including faculty, would take the cut with no changes to their workload. Top administrators, who were originally planned to take six furlough days, would now receive a 2.3 percent pay decrease.
University Faculty Senate President Marti Gonzales said she appreciated that the proposal includes deeper cuts for higher-ranking employees.
“Those who can afford to pay the price of our current fiscal situation should pay more than those who can afford less to pay that price,” she said.
Furlough days for some employees would allow for a three-day shutdown of the University.
University employees are still scheduled to receive an average 2 percent pay increase. Under certain contracts, those employees would see the increase in July.
All other employees could receive merit-based raises of the same average size, but they would be pushed back to January 2011. University spokesman Dan Wolter said the increases would keep the University competitive by retaining valuable faculty and staff.
Bruininks’ new proposal is meant to be fair to all employees, Wolter said.
The Faculty Senate will vote on the matter March 25 in a special meeting. Gonzales said she is unsure about the outcome.
“If there is not a vote in support of a reduction in pay for faculty, our budget plan going forward will necessarily include deeper college- and unit-level cuts, which will inevitably lead to additional job losses,” Bruininks wrote in the announcement.