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  January 29, 2001

UCPEA Contract Approved by Trustees

The Board of Trustees Wednesday unanimously approved the proposed four-year contract with the union that represents 1,244 non-teaching professionals, the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association (UCPEA).

The contract, subject to approval by the Legislature this spring, was approved by UCPEA members on Jan. 17 and 18, by a vote of 587-11.

The contract includes five percent increases in each of the four years, but increases the amount of money for merit. The merit portion of the raise will increase from 16 percent to 25 percent for the first and second year of the contract, and then move to 30 percent for the third and fourth years. That percentage of merit compares favorably to the 40 percent included in the American Association of University Professors contract, said Lori Aronson, vice president for financial planning and management. She noted that UConn's employee contracts are the only ones for state employees that include merit. Neither the AAUP nor the UCPEA contract includes the automatic step increases characteristic of many state employee contracts.

The AAUP contract, which is a one-year provision that continues all of the terms and conditions of the contract, and includes a five percent raise, will be heard by the Appropriations Committee on Jan. 30. The UCPEA contract will have a hearing with the same committee on Feb. 7.

UCPEA merit distribution will be based on three criteria: significant advancement of the achievement of the University's, division's or department's objectives; significant improvement in operational efficiencies; or meaningful contributions to the advancement of the profession.

Other contract modifications include significant improvements in the definition of the work week, the management of compensatory time, cost-neutral modifications to the longevity payment process and modest or no increases in contractual pools, such as those for child care reimbursement, professional development and tuition reimbursement.

"I'm very pleased that we have a four-year agreement," said Kevin Fahey, UCPEA president, "that we were treated with respect at the bargaining table, and with the final outcome."

Karen A. Grava