IU union urges president to not accept big raise

The union that represents Indiana University's support staff is urging IU's president to turn down a 22-percent pay raise, saying the money could instead go toward preventing layoffs at a campus library.

IU announced last week that school President Michael McRobbie would see his base pay increase 22 percent over two years.

The Herald-Times of Bloomington said McRobbie will receive a 12-percent pay increase for the 2011-2012 academic year. That will bring his salary to more than $533,000.

According to the Herald-Times, the Communication Workers of America Local 4730 said in a statement that McRobbie should forgo that increase and accept the same 1.5-percent pay raise other IU employees are getting.

"Such actions are clear examples of how Indiana University's decision to tighten their financial belt has put the most vulnerable employees at risk while padding the incomes of those in leadership positions with enormous pay raises," said Bryce Smedley, president of the union local that represents about 1,700 employees on the Bloomington and Gary campuses.

He said IU employees are the lowest paid in the Big Ten and urged McRobbie to follow the lead of Purdue University President France Cordova, who accepted a 3.5- percent pay increase.

Smedley said doing so could have saved some of the jobs of 10 workers at IU's Wells Library who are being laid off this week.

University spokesman Mark Land confirmed that seven support staff and three professional staff will be told this week that their positions are being eliminated.

Land said the Wells Library has been going through an assessment and reorganization while it faces a $350,000 budget cut in the current budget year, in part because of the reduction in state funding to the university.

He said the 10 positions come out of a staff of about 270 at the library. None of the about 80 faculty library positions at the Wells Library is being eliminated.

"No one wants to involuntarily lay people off. This obviously is the last resort," Land said.

He added that the workers singled out for the library layoffs hold positions that are "either redundant or the work being done wasn't critical to their mission."

Purdue's Cordova has announced she will retire from Purdue at the end of her five-year contract which began in 2007. McRobbie's contract with IU lasts until June 30, 2017, and includes an extension option for five years after that.

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