Parkingservicesto cut job perk

Lynne Kozarek

The University’s Parking and Transportation Services plan to quit discounting parking rates for its employees in July.
Memos from Bob Baker, director of Parking and Transportation Services, and Paul Tschida, assistant vice president for the Department of Health, Safety and Transportation, informed employees that, starting July 1, they would no longer receive the discount.
Baker said the topic of staff discounts recently surfaced in discussions among top administrators. “We would like to be able to afford this opportunity to our employees, but it is no longer advisable to do so,” he said.
Baker said he felt that most people will find the new policy to be a fair one.
“Our employees having to pay for parking is no different from any other student having to pay to park,” Baker said.
A parking services employee, who asked that his name be withheld for fear of retaliation from his superiors, said most employees are upset about the new parking policy.
“It is basically a pay cut and it is going to be a real burden for us,” he said. “I know the rest of the University has to pay full price to park, but parking services is set up a little differently.”
Four years ago, employees received free parking, but the policy was reviewed and changed. Currently, employees pay the lowest contract rate and are allowed to use their contract in several different lots.
The reduced contract rate employees pay amounts to $21 per month. After July, employees will pay $32.50 each month to park in lots and the posted hourly rate for ramp parking.
Tschida said it is sometimes necessary for a discount to be offered in a competitive market in which an employer is attempting to recruit. For example, University Bookstores recruits employees from a very competitive market of potential workers. Tschida said that is not the case with parking services.
“We simply asked, ‘Is it wise to get special treatment just for working for a specific University service?'” Tschida said. “I don’t begrudge anyone doing it, but I believe that we shouldn’t be doing it here.”
Tschida also said he believed that parking ramp and lot attendants should get an exception to the policy while on duty.
“To tell a parking attendant they have to pay for their space while they’re working, it’s almost unenforceable,” Tschida said. “I think that is a legitimate exception.”
Although the new policy makes no exception for on-duty attendants, Tschida said some changes are yet be made.
The employee, who works full-time and is not a University student, said that parking staff members were surprised by the change.
“We have no other option but to pay, do we?” he said.
Nevertheless, Baker said he believes the policy is fair and feels that it should apply to all employees with no exception for parking attendants.
“I can’t have some of my staff treated differently than others,” Baker said. “I think, given our available choices, we’ve been fair.”
A University student who works at parking services, who also asked that her name be withheld so her managers couldn’t identify her, said the new policy upset her. She said she will likely quit to work more hours at her other job when the fee change takes effect.
“The reason I took the job was because of the discounted parking,” she said. “Every job should have its perks.”
Several other University services, such as University Bookstores and Copies on Campus, provide discounts for their workers.
Employees of University Bookstores receive 20 percent off clothing and 10 percent off some other merchandise.
Joe Cullen, copy consultant at Copies on Campus in Coffman Memorial Union, said that employees of the store get 25 percent off copying.
“The policy has never been questioned,” Cullen said, “Because of the amount of work that goes into this place, the discount is really a small percentage.”