ASA Document 319. Letter to Katharine Lyall opposing plan to fund raises with health insurance premiums (9-03)
Motion from the Assembly floor on Monday, September 8, 2003. Approved unanimously.
September 9, 2003
University of Wisconsin System
In a memo to the chancellors, dated August 29, 2003, you describe a proposal to take dollars out of the employer's share of health insurance premiums (thereby increasing the employee contribution) and move those same dollars into cash salaries. Larry Davis, a UW-Madison academic staff member of the Systemwide Compensation Advisory Committee, has also shared with us information regarding this proposal.
While finding a proper balance between cash salaries and fringe benefits may be an issue that deserves further discussion, the specific method for changing that balance described in your August 29 memo is strongly opposed by the UW-Madison Academic Staff Assembly. During its meeting on Monday, September 8, the Assembly passed a motion authorizing this letter.
We oppose this proposal because it would require employees who are paid low salaries to subsidize salary increases for employees who have higher salaries. Also, those employees who participate in the health insurance program would be required to subsidize salary increases for employees who do not participate in health insurance. Moreover, employees who participate in the family plan would be required to subsidize salary increases for those who participate in the single plan. The Assembly sees no compelling justification for these redistributions of compensation dollars.
We think there is a fallacy in attempting to convert various fixed dollar amount payments from some unclassified staff into a single percentage increase for all unclassified staff. Moreover, this proposal could be difficult to defend politically in the context of the current budget and economy.
Larry Davis will convey our position on this matter to the Compensation Advisory Committee. If you have questions about the Assembly's discussion of this matter, please contact either me or Larry.
Bruce D. Beck
xc: John Wiley, Chancellor