WCCC to hold faculty, staff salaries flat in contracts
The salaries of faculty and staff at Westmoreland County Community College will be held flat this year under new three-year contracts approved by college trustees this week.
The labor agreements with the WCCC Professional Association and the WCCC Educational Support Professional Association both call for a pay freeze for the 2015-16 school year with 1.5 percent and 2 percent increases for the following two school years, respectively.
Faculty members will receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of $500 this year in lieu of a raise. Staffers will receive a $250 payment.
The professional association represents 88 full-time faculty and 12 full-time professionals. The educational support union covers 91 full-time and 48 regular part-time staff.
WCCC President Tuesday Stanley called the contract “a win-win.”
“We are here for the betterment of WCCC, and with this shared vision, we were able to discuss difficult items and yet still have fun and seek resolution,” Stanley said.
The contracts also stipulate that all new faculty and staff hired after July 1 will no longer have the option to enroll in a traditional pension through the State Employees Retirement System or Public School Employees Retirement System. New hires will be offered a 401(k)-type retirement plan through TIAA-CREF with the college contributing 10 percent of their salary to the plan.
Mike Hricik, president of the professional association and an English professor, said the pension change is minor because most employees now elect TIAA-CREF instead of the state pension plans.
“A lot of people who come to this community college … leave and go to other two- or four-year schools. With that in mind, they can always just transfer the TIAA-CREF” plan to their next institution, Hricik said.
Hricik said the new contracts are fair and that members were fortunate to maintain their benefits while getting some raises.
“Based on where WCCC is now financially, it was a fair resolution to both the college and the association,” Hricik said. “We always would like a little bit more money, but in looking at the total picture I think it was fair.”
Earlier this year, the college estimated it faced a $2.2 million deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year, but officials cut spending, increased tuition and fees, and are holding several positions open, at least temporarily, to balance the budget.
Officials cut $3.5 million from the budget, shaving spending on supplies, travel and capital expenditures. Positions were evaluated as to whether they were “mission critical” and, if not, they remain open, Stanley has said.
Revenues will be buoyed this year by a tuition increase of $24 per credit, or almost 25 percent, and an increase in college fees of $8 per credit that take effect for the fall term.
WCCC trustees also approved payments and raises for administrators, administrative staff and support staff. Salaries for all three groups will be held flat this year with one-time payments of $650, $400 and $290, respectively.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or [email protected].