Human resources and payroll staff at UC Davis are working quickly to distribute payment due employees under the provisions of the Coalition of University Employees' first contract with the University of California.
The contract, ratified in December, provided for wage increases from Oct. 1, 1999, through Sept. 30. Across campus and the health system, about 2,600 clerical employees are represented by CUE. In the UC system, the coalition represents some 18,000 clerical employees.
Although the UC systemwide contract doesn't require payroll to issue retroactive pay until May 19, UC Davis decided to pay its employees in increments beginning in January.
"We felt that it was more important to get the money to employees as we went along," said Irene Horgan-Thompson, director of employment and compensation.
UC Davis would like to work even faster, but each phase of the agreement must be individually processed by the UC Office of the President, she said.
Along the way, CUE and UC Davis HR and payroll representatives are holding meetings and sending e-mail updates to inform union members and managers about the progress of payments to clerical employees.
Coalition members like Linda Moser, a library assistant, say they appreciate the university's frequent communication and commitment to a swift payout.
CUE members, who were formerly represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, worked without a contract from fall 1997 until December.
"We've waited a very, very long time for our money. The bargaining process was protracted to say the least," said Moser, a member of CUE's bargaining team. "The sooner we get our money, the happier we are."
The university is making an effort to compensate CUE members off their regular paycheck cycle, thereby lowering the impact of compounded tax withholding, said Cindy Jones, payroll services division manager.
Employees have already received their $100 signing bonuses, October 1999 range adjustments and retroactive payments.
The future payment schedule is as follows:
Eligible employees were set to receive their prospective October 1999 merit pay and July 2000 2-percent range increases Thursday.
The tentative payment date for 16 months of money for retroactive October 1999 merit earnings is March 8.
Payment date for the retroactive July 2000 range adjustment has not yet been confirmed.
The collective bargaining agreement also between the coalition and the university provided that 0.8% of the range and step adjustments for 1999-2000 would be paid for from money set aside for an incentive award program. As a result, all employees in the unit received a 0.8% increase to their base pay as of Oct. 1, 1999.
However, between July 1, 1999, and Dec. 20, 2000, some clerical employees were promised incentive awards, but did not receive their payments. The awards are given to reward individual employee accomplishments. The union filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge, which was settled during an informal conference between the university and CUE last week.
Now, after following a claim procedure, these employees may be eligible to receive their awards. Information regarding eligibility and the claims process is available in campus departments, or employees can visit http://www.ucop.edu/humres/labor/UC-CUE_IAP.html.
Work also continues for payroll services and human resources on the remaining phases of the agreement, including distributing merit pay and additional range adjustments.
Despite all their recent work, the coalition and UC representatives will soon begin sitting down at the negotiation table to hammer out provisions of the union's second contract.
The current contract expires Sept. 30.
The contract will be entirely re-opened, with the university and CUE even setting the length of the contract.
"We thought that since we just bargained our first contract that it would be good to look at things we missed the first time," said Janeene Fisher-Booth, UC Davis CUE local president and accounting assistant in the school of veterinary medicine.
On Thursday, after Dateline went to press, CUE representatives were scheduled to present the re-opened contract articles to the Office of the President.
The union is still developing its contract priorities. But union leadership is sure to focus on base pay increases, Moser and Fisher-Booth agreed.
"In light of the horrendous energy costs in California, (money) will certainly be a factor," Moser said.
Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932, firstname.lastname@example.org