Big pay hikes for state workers in state budget, but what about university and college employees?
Workers protest at FAMU in Tallahassee. Credit: AFSCME Florida
The Florida House and Senate finalized its state budget for 2022-23, including 5.38 percent pay increases for state workers and a minimum wage of $15 an hour for state employees and school support staffers in school districts across the state.
But what about pay increases for state employees at Florida’s public universities and community colleges?
Lawmakers still have to vote on the budget Monday, but it’s already clear that workers from the higher education system in Florida were excluded from the pay raises in the 2022-23 state budget. The 5.38 percent salary increase is a big bump and meant to address rising inflation, and the minimum wage of $15 will boost pay for many state workers.
Andrew Gothard, president of the United Faculty of Florida told the Florida Phoenix on Friday that pay raise initiatives for state workers in the budget likely won’t include college or university faculty.
“University faculty and staff are typically excluded from those raises,” he said, adding that typically pay raises would come from overall increased funding for particular schools, and local unions would bargain with the schools on what those pay raises would look like.
Gothard said that UFF is pleased to see the increased budget for higher education, “but there is definitely more that could be done,” such as ensuring that “non-tenure-track faculty” are compensated better.
Renee Fargason, spokeswoman for the State University System of Florida, said in an email to the Phoenix that law enforcement officers at universities could see a bump in their pay. That would not be connected to the 5.38 percent figure and the $15 minimum wage in the 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a staunch advocate for police officers and has pushed for bonuses for that group.
“To my knowledge, university employees are not included in the pay raises for state workers,” she said. “However, we have been told university police are included in the separate law enforcement raises.”
And at the University of South Florida, in Tampa, “the only university employees included in the proposed pay increases are university police,” said Althea Johnson, assistant director of media relations.
Meanwhile, union members have pointed to pay inequities among workers at some universities, such as Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
Andre Crumity, AFSCME local president, told the Phoenix in a phone conversation Friday that the union held a protest at FAMU in early February over university officials refusing to grant pay raises to its employees. Some workers who help maintain the campus are only making $10 an hour.
“We protested due to not receiving a raise for quite some time,” said Crumity, who also works at the university. “Wages have been practically frozen for most of us for 10 years.”
“As for the rest of the universities in the SUS (State University System of Florida), this is a common problem with the employees not receiving raises and being short-staffed.”
The Legislature was expected to end its session on Friday. But it had to extend until Monday to vote on the final budget. After that, the budget has to be sent to Gov. DeSantis, for his consideration. He has the authority to make vetoes as well.
Florida Phoenix reporter Danielle J. Brown contributed to this report.
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