Sooo... I've been working as Adoption Coordinator for JCCA for three weeks now. So far I really enjoy the job and feel like I can make a true contribution. I'm getting used to the commuting. The money is really, really low. Without giving actual numbers, some rubrics to give a sense of how much I'm making:
- it's about half of what I need to meet basic bills
- it's less than I was making when I was not working
- it's the same amount I made 25 years ago. No, not in inflation-adjusted dollars, in actual dollars. At the time that was on the low end but livable for someone with no children and no mortgage. 25 years later it could not support me even if I didn't have the kids.
So clearly I have to continue to supplement income with what's left of my much depleted savings. The new wrinkle: it looks like there will be agency-wide salary cuts. And that's the better alternative, from my point of view. If it doesn't happen, I'll be unemployed again.
Last fiscal year (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010) the agency was operating at a deficit. In order to make up the difference, employees worked 4 unpaid days between January 1 and June 30. Doing so violated the union contract (hey - unions may not have much power anymore, but they usually do at least insist that workers get paid for the days they work) so the union had to agree in order to implement this plan. Management promised no layoffs during the year if they did, and staff voted to agree to the plan.
Okay, so now we're in a new fiscal year and the agency is coming up 1.2 million dollars short. This time they are asking that everyone take salary cuts in order to make up the difference. Management is not promising no layoffs this time, if staff agree, but they are saying there will be massive layoffs if staff don't agree.
The cuts are graduated, with higher paid staff taking a larger percentage cut. The percentage maxes out at 6% for those making $120,000 or more. Most of the staff make under $50,000 and that's where most of the dollars will be realized. The percentage cut is a little misleading, since the money will be taken out of 9 months of paychecks but will not be prorated - a full year's salary cut will be taken back.
The vote will be soon. I'm too new to vote. If the cuts aren't agreed to, I will certainly be laid off, since there's a seniority clause in the contract, so my job has to be offered to someone more senior who was laid off. If they are agreed to I might still get laid off.
I don't know enough to know whether this is necessary, or whether management might have found another solution. I am really quite shocked that the solution to a budget deficit is deemed to be having very low paid staff work days without pay one year and then reduce their pay the next. And I do find it kind of distasteful to hear the CEO, who makes over $300,000, offering this as the solution - and saying that the graduated cuts cut off at $120,000.