plan gets attention of employees
than 70 University employees crammed into a fourth-floor room
in Newcomb Hall March 2 for a press conference of the Labor Action
Group. Members of the group outlined their concerns with the reform
of the classified compensation plan, now up for a vote by the
General Assembly. The employee advocacy group wants the plan,
which has been in the works since 1998, to be postponed for at
least one year so that classified employees can become better
informed about it and have more of a say in it.
Chief Human Resource Officer Tom Gausvik, who didn't attend the
press conference, said in a later interview that he expects the
plan currently before the General Assembly to be approved. He
said that the Governor's 1998 Workforce Survey, completed by 45,598
of the state's 63,000 employees, was an "important tool"
in developing the revised plan and noted that 30,000 hours had
been spent in the last two years on the design of this plan.
said that in the 17 years he's been here he's heard employees
and managers statewide say the existing compensation plan needs
to be fixed. The workforce has raised many concerns within their
agencies, to the Governor and to lawmakers that the current pay
plan is not competitive with the labor market and does not reward
or properly compensate employees. The new plan, hammered out by
some 50 state employees, 75 percent of whom were classified employees,
"fixes every issue I've heard brought up," he said.
January, the governor's Commission on Reform of the Classified
Compensation Plan approved recommendations made by the two committees
that have been working on the design of the plan for the past
two years -- the Technical Advisory Committee, chaired by Gausvik,
and the Employee Advisory Committee.
employee committee, made up of 18 classified employees, advised
the technical committee, a group consisting of central agency
representatives, chief human resource officers of the largest
state agencies and legislative fiscal analysts, as the new plan
was being created.
gave them input based on what we and our co-workers wanted,"
said employee representative Ernest Barnes, a program support
technician in the Division of Unclaimed Property at the state's
Department of Treasury. "We met once a month with the members
of the technical committee. We expressed our opinions freely,
and they were open to all of our suggestions," Barnes said.
at the maximum salary of their pay grade will have an
opportunity for salary growth in the new pay bands. ...
"This is good news for approximately 400 classified
employees at U.Va."
U.Va. Chief Human Resource Officer
is happy with the final report, but said no plan will please everyone.
He's especially satisfied with the pay-for-performance, not pay-for-position
aspect of the new plan. "I wanted to stray away from across-the-board
raises to being paid for the quality of work that employees do,"
Though there was no U.Va. classified employee on the employee
panel, two other employees, a secretary senior from James Madison
University, and an administrative assistant from Norfolk State
University, represented the state's higher education institutions
on the committee. Along with Gausvik, one other U.Va. employee
served on the technical committee.
new plan, if approved in this year's budget, will be implemented
beginning July 1, according to a Feb. 24 letter from Gausvik sent
to all U.Va. classified employees. Also provided was a copy of
the final report of the plan, which Gausvik said has been designed
to "attract and retain qualified employees" and to "motivate
employees by rewarding sustained performance."
features of the proposed plan include reducing the 23 pay grades
to nine broad pay bands, and increasing the minimum and maximum
salary of each pay band. Employees who are at the maximum salary
of their current pay grade will have an opportunity for additional
salary growth in the new pay bands, Gausvik said. "This is
good news for approximately 400 classified employees at U.Va.
and approximately 6,500 statewide who are currently at the maximum
of their pay grade."
new plan will also consolidate roughly 1,640 state job classifications
into 275 new broad "roles." This will provide more opportunities
for employee career growth, including the ability to progress
through the pay band at any time for taking on additional duties
and for demonstrating enhanced performance through job-related
training and education, Gausvik said.
In addition, the plan will provide flexibility for pay adjustments
for retention of employees and in the case of significant salary
compression; the ability, for the first time, for employees to
negotiate promotional salary increases; and the opportunity to
receive up to a $1,000 bonus. The new plan will also reduce the
number of rating levels in the performance evaluation from five
to three, add an employee self-assessment and give employees a
chance to anonymously evaluate their supervisor's performance.
(For more on the new plan, see the Jan 21. issue of Inside UVA
its press conference, LAG members agreed that classified employees
need a reformed compensation package, but said that they need
a better one than what's currently being offered. "What they're
doing is paying the person, not the position," said Nelson
Lichtenstein, U.Va. history professor and LAG spokesperson. "It
will give discretion, fairly [or] maybe unfairly, to management."
LAG claims that the proposed plan would reduce job security, change
job descriptions so workers will have to take on more responsibilities
without more pay, and allow supervisors undue discretion to reward
whomever they choose.
members also contend that low-wage workers in routine jobs will
reap few benefits, and that loyalty and seniority are poorly rewarded
under the "broad-band" concept. They cited a 1997 Arthur
Anderson consulting firm report, which declares that under such
compensation systems, workers doing routine jobs "get stuck
... at the bottom of their pay band, which is not good for morale."
LAG also charged that employees didn't play a big enough role
in the overhaul of the system. There were no lower-level classified
employees on the technical committee, and no public meetings were
held at any state agency to inform workers about the plan as it
was being drafted.
the press conference, LAG members urged U.Va. employees to call
their legislators and ask them to delay implementing the plan
for at least a year. The assembly will vote on the budget bill
by March 11.
who first outlined the plan at U.Va. during a Nov. 17, 1998 public
forum on "Rights & Wages," which was sponsored by LAG,
advises employees with questions to contact Human Resources at
email@example.com or phone 924-4598.
commission's final report is online at http://www.hrs.virginia.edu/hrs/compcomm/comm011400/index.html.
Informational sessions and training for employees will begin sometime
in April or May, Gausvik said. Training for managers will begin