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Chair of the Forum, 1996

Press Release, July 9, 1996

            RALEIGH—Taking joint action for the first time in their history, organizations representing employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NC State University have called on the General Assembly to approve a total salary increase for employees that is at least on a par with personal income growth in North Carolina.  The unusual step, taken by the executive committees of the two organizations meeting in Raleigh on Tuesday (July 9), reflected the gravity of the current impasse on state employee salaries, according to the heads of both groups.

In a joint statement, Joan Little, Chair of the NC State University Staff Senate, and Ann Hamner, Chair of the Employee Forum at UNC- Chapel Hill, expressed the hope that “the concerted efforts by employee representatives of two institutions that often function on their own will dramatize the critical need for a meaningful salary increase for public workers throughout the state.”

“Accounting for inflation, a typical state employee today earns between 72-75% of the amount earned at the same job in 1973,” UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum Chair Ann Hamner said.  “State salaries have not nearly kept pace with inflation, and there has been no consistent system of merit pay since 1982.”  Hamner said that as a result, while improvements have been made in lower pay ranges, some state employees still must work two and three jobs to pay rent and feed their families.

The meeting of leaders of the two organizations concerned a range of other issues, including privatization and domestic partner benefits, but with the General Assembly in session nearby to resolve the budget deadlock, the focus was clearly on the salary issue.  “We call on the legislature to recognize the essential contributions of state employees by coming to agreement on an equitable Pay Compensation Package in the current session,” said Little.