Instructors disgruntled over small pay raise

Home Archived News Instructors disgruntled over small pay raise

Erika Wilhite

Published: October 26, 2005

Instructors at PJC haven’t received a raise in two years. Many are beginning to question why, when the budget was drawn up for the current academic year, the administration again failed to allocate funds for a salary increase.

After complaints, PJC administrators and the Faculty Association entered negotiations for a salary raise last spring, and the administration finally offered to add $200 to this year’s pay, along with an increase of 2 percent.

Susan Morgan, the Association’s president, says that, what with the 3.6 percent increase given to faculty at UWF this year, and the 8 percent increase at OWC, 2 percent simply isn’t fair.

“[It’s] better than nothing,” Morgan said, “but it’s still disappointing… we are behind every other institution in the [tri-county] area.”

The administration, however, feels that they did their best. “We’ve worked very hard with faculty in the negotiation process,” said PJC’s president, Dr. Tom Delaino, “and we feel that we’ve reached a very fair agreement.”

Mike Gilbert, who teaches political science and history at PJC, disagrees. He believes that the administration did not properly respond to faculty demands and finds the 2 percent offer insulting.

“It doesn’t even cover the raise in gas prices,” Gilbert said. “[Assuming] that I’m making somewhere around $50,000 a year, a 2 percent raise is $1,000. It’s a bone to a dog, that’s what it is. It’s a small bone to a dog.”

Beyond the faculty disenchantment, the 2 percent increase also has potential long-term affects. Morgan says that the retirement estimates sent out each year by the state assume that faculty will be given at least a 3 percent raise every year, and therefore are now inaccurately high.

In other words, unless salary is annually adjusted to match inflation, instructors at PJC will be retiring on less than they ought to receive. Morgan feels that “[the administration] are not doing a good job taking care of their senior faculty.”

Gilbert says that unless the administration seriously addresses the salary issue, many faculty members are considering a more drastic course of action.

“Nothing’s been firm yet, this is all just speculative,” assures Gilbert. “We can’t strike…we are professionals and we care about what we do. Nothing is going to affect the job we do in the classroom.”

Instead, he says, it may be time for the faculty to withdraw participation from the extra activities and committees in which they are involved, without monetary compensation for their time and effort.

“The Global Learning Outcomes Committee is one,” says Gilbert, “since the SACS accreditation is coming up in a year or two. ”

Delaino feels that continued faculty participation is necessary for the proper functioning of the college. Otherwise, he says, “we would not be the teaching/learning college we want to be.” Furthermore, Delaino says faculty members are free to make their own choices about how they will participate.

Dr. Charles Schuler, who heads the History, Languages and Philosophy Department, sympathizes with the interests of both the faculty and the administration, ultimately for the sake of the students at PJC.

“[While] I completely understand the teachers’ frustrations concerning their pay raises,” Schuler said, “I do not support the idea of disengaging from committee work. When someone commits to a project, that commitment needs to be honored. Right now PJC is facing a SACS accreditation review, [and] the success of that review will, to a large extent, depend on the work done by committees [composed] of administrators and faculty. If the faculty were to boycott those committees, it’s not just the administration that would be damaged, but the students – who need to graduate from an accredited institution.”