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In this last column under the old GAZ format, I am still mindful of salary issues, given President Hatch’s email to staff last week regarding salary pools. As everyone on the ZSR staff should know by now, I place a very high priority on achieving fair and equitable salaries for all classifications of library staff. Perhaps because I was raised in a union town with relatively high wages and benefits and worked in a public institution where individual salaries were widely known, it was surprising to me to find that wages at ZSR were not as comparatively fair as the one that I negotiated for myself upon taking the job as Director.
Soon after, I enlisted Debbie’s help to conduct a complete and thorough study of ZSR salaries, benchmarked with peers, for all classifications of staff. Human Resources was fully supportive of this process and assisted by re-writing 52 job descriptions and reclassifying all non-exempt personnel. The ZSR staff was supportive of creating an equity pool out of last year’s 3 percent salary guideline in order to bring each individual up to a level playing field. We developed a 3 year plan to raise non-exempt salaries to the appropriate level and a similar 5 year plan for exempt staff. Last year, ZSR was fortunate to receive an extra salary allocation to fund the first year of these multi-year plans. That brings us to where we are today.
As long ago as the Plan for the Class of 2000, Wake Forest set a goal to raise faculty salaries to the median of faculty in peer (cross-admit) institutions. Up until this point, this goal has not been met and in fact, Wake Forest faculty wages have fallen against those of peers. It is this goal that President Hatch has made his highest priority, in the belief that Wake Forest must attract and retain world-class faculty in order to achieve world-class quality.
The President’s message did not leave staff out. It is particularly gratifying to see the minimum wage raised for the entire campus. This is part of a “living wage” movement of universities across the nation. Further, the University will make adjustments for the members of the hourly staff based on length of service, thus recognizing their dedication to Wake Forest. By the end of this process, more than 500 non-exempt staff will receive increases in their hourly compensation ranging from 4 percent to 13 percent. The average increase for the non-exempt staff in this pool will be more than 5 percent. This is all welcome news and may mean that the second and third year levels in the three year non-exempt plan will be reached. There was no mention of exempt staff in the message and thus it appears that no additional pool has been set aside for this group of employees this year. I would hope that next year’s campus priorities would address equity for exempt staff. In the meantime, I will do all that I can to use any new or existing resources to address the exempt shortfall.
As I said in my note last week, just as Dr. Hatch has publicly said that enhancing faculty salaries is his highest priority, you may be sure that enhancing library staff salaries is my highest priority and will remain so until we reach equity.