Bruininks: Here's the U's real faculty-staff pay story

MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

We've taken our pay hits

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University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks has jumped in on the Zellers flap, saying that salary freezes have been the norm -- not 20-30 percent pay raises.

In a commentary for MPR, he lists several cost-cutting measures the U has already taken, and mentions what's coming up in his budget come June:

A wage and salary freeze (the third in the past decade).

Increased medical premiums and co-pays for employees.

Restructured administration of our health care benefits to reduce costs.

Higher retirement contributions from new faculty and academic staff.

He concludes:

In difficult economic times, our outstanding faculty and staff have absorbed state budget reductions that have not only affected their work, but also have taken a significant toll on their household budgets. Yet every day they continue to deliver on our mission, recruiting and retaining more students, granting more degrees per year, generating historically high levels of sponsored research funding and private support, and returning more than $13 to Minnesota's economy for every $1 of state investment.

Such productivity on the state's behalf should be rewarded, especially during lean times, when every job and every dollar matter.