Non-union workers get $300 lump-sum bonus

The University reviews non-union plans each spring to see if bonuses are necessary.

Five months after American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees stepped off the picket lines and finished contract negotiations, the University’s non-union civil workers will each receive a piece of $1.5 million come March.

Each of the University’s 5,000 non-union employees, which include scientists and financial workers, get $300 in their March 12 paychecks, said Carol Carrier, vice president of the office of human resources.

The University reviews nonunion worker pay plans each spring to evaluate if bonuses are necessary, Carrier said. Conversely, AFSCME negotiations happen every two years.

“With other employee groups, it’s more of a consult with and discuss the University’s proposed pay plan,” she said.

Phyllis Walker, president of AFSCME Local 3800 clerical workers, said the bonuses are the University’s reaction to contracts finalized last September.

“I find it really interesting that when we were in contract negotiations with the University, they told us they didn’t have any more money to pay us,” Walker said. “Then they came up with lump sums for civil service workers.”

Walker said that by paying the $300 lump sums – the same amount the University gave AFSCME workers per their current contract – to non-union workers, current non-union workers won’t have to form a union.

“If they didn’t give those lump sums to civil service, it sends a strong message to civil service that the only way to get more money is to form a union,” she said.

Despite Walker’s disappointment, University spokesman Dan Wolter said the bonuses are to maintain competitiveness of wages paid to civil service employees, not in reaction to AFSCME contract wages.

Senior University chemistry scientist Steve Philson said he never worried too much about the competitiveness of the wages because the University is a “desirable place to work.”

Philson, a 27-year University employee and non-union worker, said though he’ll receive the March bonus, it won’t have a drastic affect on him.

“Salaries become less and less important to me,” he said, “I’m getting close to retirement. I’m not likely to be going any place else.”

Unions aren’t appealing to Philson because, he said, there’s too much bargaining involved and he doesn’t see the benefits.

“Clearly people who have unions don’t do that well at (bargaining),” he said.

Five-year assistant University physics scientist Brian Sherwood will also be receiving the bonus.

He said he’d rather get a salary increase than a $300 bonus, but it “will help pay a few bills.”