Some Progress to Report

Friday, November 13, 2009

I had hoped to have more information to share with you by now. Unfortunately, processes beyond our control are moving slower than expected. However, I do want to keep you informed about changes since my last message.

1. Temporary reduction in TIAA-CREF employer contributions

As approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, on Oct. 29, effective with the Nov. 30 payroll, the university will temporarily reduce its employer retirement contribution to TIAA-CREF. The reduced contribution will remain in effect through the June 30, 2011 payroll and will be adjusted as follows:

  • The university contribution rate of 6 2/3 percent for the first $4,800 of salary for employees with one through five years of service will be reduced to 5 1/3 percent.
  • The university contribution rate of 10 percent for salary above the first $4,800 for employees with one through five years of service will be reduced to 8 percent.
  • The university contribution rate of 10 percent for employees with more than five years of service, early retirement plan participants, and employees on phased retirement, will be reduced to 8 percent.
  • The employee contribution rate will remain the same.

If you have questions about TIAA-CREF, contact Cindy Webb or Bobbi Petersma.

2. Temporary layoffs

Part of UNI's plan to reduce the budget is to conduct temporary layoffs (unpaid leave) among all employee groups in fiscal 2010. This plan will be graduated based on salary. The specifics of temporary layoffs won't be known until discussions have concluded between the state and AFSCME, and between UNI and United Faculty. We are hopeful discussions will be concluded by the end of the month.

Gov. Culver's office and AFSCME have a tentative agreement. The membership will vote on ratification of the agreement on or before Nov. 25. Whatever is decided at the state level will directly impact AFSCME-represented employees at UNI. That decision also will impact the options available to the university.

Since the last Board of Regents meeting, UNI administrators have met with United Faculty leadership to share information and ask questions pertaining to temporary layoff and temporary salary reduction options. The two groups will meet again on Nov. 16. 

 3. Board of Regents

A motion to recommend a $100 spring-semester tuition surcharge was approved by the Board of Regents at its October meeting and will be voted on at its Dec. 10 meeting.

4. Federal stimulus (ARRA) funds

Since July 2008, state appropriations to UNI have been cut by 23 percent, or $23 million. On the positive side, UNI has received $12.4 million in one-time American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for fiscal 2010. We have tentatively committed those funds to a series of projects across campus. These allocations won't be final until the overall university budget has been approved. For detailed information about the ARRA funding and how we intend to use it, see http://www.uni.edu/president/sites/default/files/arra.pdf.

UNI's vice presidents have been sharing information with you about how these actions impact your specific areas. We remain committed to treating all employee groups in an equitable manner. There are many details yet to be determined and we will communicate updates on our progress as available. Thank you for your continued patience and dedication to our students and the state of Iowa.

Ben Allen