Union to college execs: Your greed ain't good

College bonus protests

Tim Post, MPR

Union field rep Laurie Johnson vents her spleen over college executive bonuses.

Union workers, hacked off that executives of Minnesota’s state colleges and universities could get another round of annual fall bonuses, tried to put the squeeze on a trustee meeting in St. Paul today.

As the chiefs met upstairs, about 40 people chanted on the corner of Cedar and Seventh streets.

The rally signs pretty much summed up the sentiment: “Shared Sacrifice Means Everyone” and “Stop the MnSCU Bonuses.”

Yep, they complained about the cash bumps last year. Same recession. Same belt-tightening. And same (or similar) bonuses: about $287,000 to 35 administrators, or $3,000 to $15,000 per administrator, say officials from AFSCME Council 5. (In this case, AFSCME represents people such as clerical workers, janitors and landscapers at the state’s public institutions of higher learning.)

Fair or not, it wasn’t the best PR move when trustees — in a time of tuition increases and job losses — last month approved a $40,000 bonus for Chancellor James McCormick, who last year got a $32,500 bonus on top of a base salary of $360,000 last year.

“I understand you have to make ends meet,” said Carroll “Bird” Partridge, president of the AFSCME Local 3998. But giving out bonuses “isn’t helping make ends meet. .. You can’t hand out pink slips with one hand and bonuses with the other.”

MnSCU officials say executives don’t get pay raises and instead rely on contractually agreed-upon performance bonuses.

One can only assume those don’t have anything to do with the  efficiency and performance of its central office or the seamlessness of its transfer procedure among the schools in its system.

Check out later today the full story by MPR’s Tim Post. The rally should continue Wednesday.