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Central Washington University

Innovative CWU labor agreement draws staff and trustees’ approval, governor’s praise

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (September 28, 2012) — The Central Washington University Board of Trustees on Thursday approved an innovative labor agreement with bargained classified staff that links compensation to the university’s performance. The contracts, which have been ratified by the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and the Public School Employees of Washington (PSE), grant one-time performance pay each year based upon the achievement of university goals.

The contracts allow no increase in base wages for the first year of the agreement, but a 1-percent increase effective July 1, 2014. CWU will implement a Student Success Initiative, which allows for a one-time payment of 1.5 percent, 2.25 percent, or 3 percent of gross wages each year through 2015, depending upon the degree to which the university achieves its performance goals.

CWU president James L. Gaudino said the university and the classified staff unions entered negotiations agreeing that employees, who hadn’t had a wage increase in four years, needed a cost of living adjustment. But an arbitrary increase risked rejection by the governor and the legislature.

“We worked together and agreed to accept some risk by linking compensation to performance,” said Gaudino, adding that the agreement makes the three groups (WFSE, PSE, and CWU) closer partners than ever. “The governor gave the proposal high marks and we believe the legislature will too.”

PSE employees ratified the agreement on September 19.

“We felt satisfied in the negotiations and we’re happy with the outcome,” said PSE Chapter President Angie Wedekin. “We look forward to working with the university.”

WFSE’s members ratified the agreement on Thursday. 

“Our members have overwhelmingly voted to ratify this agreement,” said Amy Achilles, the chief negotiator for WFSE. “We feel this is a sign of good faith by the university to begin to restore what our members have forgone and sacrificed over the last four years.”

During the term of the agreements, the parties have agreed to jointly discuss potential improvements to performance evaluations to facilitate future labor negotiations. CWU will implement an additional “step M” to the wage scale, if adopted by the general government table. The university also will implement the terms of the coalition agreement on health care for the term of this agreement reached under the provisions of RCW 41.80.020.

Media contact: Linda Schactler, director, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1384, schactler@cwu.edu