GWUFA thanks President Knapp for his leadership in issuing GW’s “Principles of Support for Undocumented Students.” As an organization that shares his commitment to the educational and research mission of GW, we appreciate his determination to keeping GW a welcoming campus for all its students.
We also hope that the university will pledge to defend undocumented immigrant students from the federal government’s expected legal persecution.
Recently GW Today published a misleading story claiming that employee benefits at GW are comparable to those offered at its peer institutions. This claim is based on a flawed report commissioned by the university administration to gainsay the conclusions of President Knapp’s own task force of GW faculty and staff. That original task force report, available on the GWU Faculty Association website here, concluded that “the University holds a significantly weakened competitive position compared to other universities concerning health care benefits.” Apparently Rice Hall did not like its own task force’s recommendation that the university spend more on employee benefits, so instead it spent its money to hire an outside agency to contradict the report.
The report referred to in the GW Today article is flawed because in many cases it compares the cheapest health plans offered at other schools to one of the more expensive ones offered by GW. We have asked Rice Hall to request from its consultant a revised report that compares equivalent health insurance plans, but the GW administration rushed out its flawed report in an effort to suppress the anticipated backlash against the huge 15%, 20%, and 25% (depending on one’s salary) health insurance premium increases for many GW employees that were announced Tuesday.
We in the GWU Faculty Association, a grassroots organization of over 1 in 5 full-time faculty members at GW, have advocated for the past two years that GW pay its fair share of employee benefits. This is only the latest obfuscation by an administration willing to lavish money on real estate, outside consultants, and high salaries and bonuses for top administrators, but not to pay competitive benefits to its own employees.
We call on all GW employees to demand a fair deal from Rice Hall, and we call on Rice Hall to end its pattern of obfuscation and stonewalling on benefits.
We invite all full-time faculty to join the GWU Faculty Association. We provide real information when GW Today provides messaging. We fight for fair employee compensation while Rice Hall treats faculty like a business expense, to be reduced like any other.
Please join GWUFA today, encourage your colleagues to join, and forward this message.
President Knapp’s own benefits task force found in May that GW’s benefits lag far behind those of our peer institutions. GWUFA was the first group to raise this issue, and we have finally overcome Rice Hall stonewalling. The full task force report is available here. (And browse other resources under our documents page.)
GWU Faculty Association
Tuesday, March 17 • 4:00 PM
7th floor of Gelman library
Find out what we’ve been doing to improve GW’s below average employee benefits, protect academic freedom, and make sure that GW’s expansive building program does not come at the expense of its teaching and research mission. Let us know what you see happening at GW so that we can fight together for an excellent and equitable university.
GWUFA members turned out in force for the February 20 CCAS Faculty Meeting to elect all five of the GWUFA members who ran for the Faculty Senate. Congratulations to Harald Griesshammer (Physics), Leslie Jacobson (Theater and Dance), Randall Packer (Biology), Marie Price (Geography), and Cynthia Rohrbeck (Psychology)!
GWUFA held its first membership meeting of AY14-15 on September 17. Here are the minutes of the meeting, and the chart that was distributed at the meeting, comparing spending on fringe benefits at other institutions, is available here or on the resources page.
One of the reasons GWUFA was founded was to protest the huge increases in medical insurance premiums that GW faculty have had to pay, even while our out-of-pocket expenses under those plans were drastically increased. Over the past two years, faculty medical insurance expenses have increased by 52%, so that we now receive significantly worse coverage than that offered by similar universities. The drastically higher co-pays are especially alarming because they are the what faculty pay for every visit to a medical provider:
||U. of Maryland PPO
||Boston Univ. PPO
||GWU Medium PPO
|Primary care co-pay
|Family deductible in network
|Family deductible out of network
|Percent of out-of-network expenses paid by plan
The main reason for these differences is that GW spends less on faculty benefits than its competitors: GW spends 25 cents on our fringe benefits for every dollar it spends on salary, while B.U. spends 29 cents, Georgetown spends 35 cents, and even A.U. spends 27 cents.
Another reason for our below-average medical plan is that the Board of Trustees increases the amount GW pays for our benefits by only 3% per year, regardless of how much those costs actually increase. Faculty are willing to pay their fair share of cost increases, but we feel the university should shoulder at least an equal proportion of the burden. The Board has passed the bulk of benefit price increases onto faculty members, while protecting the record-setting bonuses it lavishes on top administrators.
GWUFA is trying to put pressure on university administrators to improve faculty benefits. At the behest of our members, the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to devote more money to faculty benefits in 2015. The trustees chose to ignore this senate resolution, however, and the university plans to raise the medical insurance premiums on existing plans another 4% in the coming year. GWUFA will continue to lobby to win a better benefits package for all faculty, but we can only succeed if you:
1) Tell your colleagues about how GW’s faculty benefits stack up against other universities.
2) Make your unhappiness about your benefits known whenever you speak to administrators.
3) Recruit new members to GWUFA. Every new member adds weight to our call to offer benefits to GW faculty that are just as good as those offered by similar universities. You can talk about our goals, print out materials from our resources page, and encourage colleagues to signup online.