Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Local 965 Has Questions for Chancellor

In response to the Report from the Financial Advisory Committee to the UA Faculty Senate on April 18th documenting that women faculty members are paid less than their male colleagues at every academic rank, the following letter was sent to UA Chancellor John A. White. AFSCME Local 965 is very concerned about the findings in the Report, and we are seeking additional information as well as offering our support in efforts to correct current salary inequities.

Dear Chancellor White:

Today is Equal Pay Day. The date—Tuesday, April 24th—symbolizes the fact that on average, a woman must work for a year and four months to earn the same wages as a man receives in a year.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to pay women less than men for work that is “substantially equal,” unless the pay difference is because of legitimate factors such as seniority or experience, but wage discrimination based on sex still exists in the workplace. Now, 44 years later, a Report last week from the Financial Advisory Committee to the Faculty Senate revealed that the wage gap still exists for women faculty members--at all ranks from Instructor to Full Professor--at the University of Arkansas and that it is actually increasing.

The wage gap for women faculty members appears especially egregious at the Assistant Professor level that includes most hires within the last seven years, where seniority and experience are not significant factors. Assuming that a female Assistant Professor hired at 30 years of age remained at the University of Arkansas until retirement at age 65, the present $11,000 salary gap could be projected at $385,000 by time of retirement, even if women faculty received raises equivalent to their male colleagues.

The members of Local 965, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, representing employees at the University of Arkansas oppose sex discrimination in employment and strongly support equal pay for equal work. We were both surprised and shocked to see the documentation of salary discrepancy that exists between male and female faculty on our campus. We are committed to working with you and your administration to address and eliminate this gender-based salary gap among the faculty at the University of Arkansas .

Equal pay is not only about basic fairness; it’s also about basic family economics. The earnings of many of these working women are essential to supporting a family. For every dollar lost because of the salary discrepancy, that is one dollar less that our female faculty members have to spend on groceries, housing, child care, retirement contributions, and other family expenses--$11,000 less for female Assistant Professors.

We would be very interested in your response to the Report of the Faculty Senate Financial Advisory Committee, especially:

(1) (1) Are the data presented in the Report reasonably accurate, and, if not, can the administration provide more accurate data?

(2) (2) If the Report presents reasonably accurate data, how can you explain the significant salary gap between male and female faculty members?

(3) (3) If the Report presents reasonably accurate data, who was responsible for approving the initial salaries that resulted in the differential salary gap between male and female faculty?

(4) (4) If the Report presents reasonably accurate data, how can you explain the recent increases in the salary gap between male and female faculty?

(5) (5) Of the 28 upper level administrators noted in the Report, how many of those positions are held by women in each group?

(6) (6) Of the 28 upper level administrators noted in the Report, what are the average salaries of male and female administrators in each group?

Thank you for your time in reading this message and considering our questions. We look forward to receiving your responses to our questions and concerns and to working with you to achieve equal pay for women and fair pay for everyone on our campus.


Stephen Smith
AFSCME Local 965


Anonymous said...

In the year 2007, I am shocked and disgusted by the mere fact anyone hadto send such a letter to the Chancellor of THE major State University. How sad and totally unacceptable especially in light of the last record breaking fund raising venture which netted the campus over a BILLION dollars in contributions!

As a two time graduate of the University of Arkansas I would expect my alma matter to set the STANDARD on all issues of equality especially gender equality. Wasn't that a battle fought over two decades ago? I seem to remember times on campus when I was both a student and later a faculty member when equal pay for equal work was something this campus has pledged to institute. To find that has not occurred makes me question the leadership of this institution on a most fundamental level.

One major role of any teaching institution is to prepare its students for the real world ahead of them. College is where life long principals should be learned, some by EXAMPLE and not in a classroom. What message is the U of A sending future leaders when the institution CONTINUES to financially discriminate between the pay of male and female employees? This sort of tradition must STOP immediately, replaced by a system of equal pay for equal work!

I fear the response when other alumni discover this shameful discrepancy in pay still exists on a campus we love. It certainly makes me hesitate as I look at the most recent appeal for funds from the Alumni Association or either of my past departments.

Anonymous said...

You guys are dreaming if you think you will get a straight answer from John White. At best, he will just ignore your letter and have his underlings monitor your blog; at worst, you should be looking for new jobs.