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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

CWU labor agreement ties wage increases to student performance

Central Washington University has approved a labor agreement with 325 of its classified employees that links future wages to student performance.

The agreement, which must be approved by the Legislature, covers employees who are members of the Washington Federation of State Employees and Public School Employees of Washington, and includes administrative and clerical staff, as well as groundskeepers and food service workers, said CWU President James Gaudino. It does not include professors, instructors or administrators.

Under the agreement, the employees would get a one percent increase in pay in July 2014. They could also earn a payment of up to 3 percent a year if student achievement — such as graduation rates — improve. The payment tied to student achievement would not be part of their base salary.

Gaudino said the total cost of the two-year contract could be up to $700,000 if student achievement does improve. CWU’s six-year graduation rate is 55 percent, although Gaudino said if transfer students are factored in, the university’s graduation rate is closer to 80 percent.

Gaudino said classified staff members can have a real impact on student success rates. “Students sometimes spend more time outside of class than inside of class,” and people like food-service handlers or groundskeepers “have an impact on the culture and feeling” of the university, he said.

CWU’s contract with its faculty union, United Faculty of Central, does not expire until later this year, and Gaudino said the university will suggest a similar arrangement with professors and instructors. However, “you don’t want to give the impression we are putting faculty in a position where their pay is connected to the percentage of students who graduate,” he said. He said negotiating that contract will be “a more complicated discussion.”

He said CWU employees, like most other state employees, have not had a raise in four years.

Comments | More in Education, Government | Topics: Central Washington University

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