Amherst SAP Committee

The Salary Administration Program (SAP) provides policies for determining appropriate compensation for all PSU employees.  The SAP Committee helps members understand this system and provides guidance for members who wish to pursue a review of their salary or position classification (i.e., salary grade). 

SAP Position Classification or Equity Review procedure.

PSU SAP Frequent Questions and Answers

What is the best way to communicate concerns or needs to SAP?

Please reach out to Jenn Pease, SAP President at jroyer@umass.edu

How can I support SAP? Is there a role I can play? 

The roles that SAP needs filled right now are intake volunteers to advise members on what the process is and what forms they need filled out for an equity or reclassification.

What are the current success stories?

The success for equities and reclasses with our subcommittee with total comp under the labor relations umbrella is working incredibly well.  The stats provided at this time is for equities only.  For the 66 equity reviews done since 12/31/2022, 64 have had some kind of proposed increase.  That’s a 95.96% approval rate.  The information for reclassification requests (getting more info here)

Who sets the salaries that people make? 

Salaries are based on a multitude of factors including all relevant experience, salaries for similar positions on campus with the same experience, and market data.

How do we have position releveled to provide career ladder opportunity?

Generally, career ladders are for PSU member who work in an area where there is room for growth and job development.  Re-leveling is for positions that have a significant change in their duties or responsibilities.  If you are in a job that lends itself to a career ladder, there may already be position descriptions for the next level up for your career. Ask your supervisor whether there are, and if so, what you need to do to be promoted.    

How is the equity review process going? How many pending?

Currently there are about 100 cases combined to review for both equity and reclassifications.

What is the equity/and or reclassification review process like?

It’s important to remember that both of these actions are member driven, SAP can advise on how to submit an equity or reclassification. We do not have a seat at the initial review. Once there is a finding and if you are not happy with the result you can reach out to Jenn Pease jroyer@umass.edu.  Please review the attached sheet as there are some tight timelines for appeals.

Can I be in the room at the table with HR when my case is being discussed?

No, these meetings are now a subcommittee of labor relations and only committee members can attend.

If no, can I have a meeting with the SAP member who is representing me?

Yes, absolutely we are happy to meet with you.

What kind of support does SAP need to make that happen? 

If you received a denial or an offer you are not happy with the result, we can meet to go over your concerns and we can bring them up in our monthly discussion for these types of issues. 

What is compression? 

Salary compression is an issue that happens when newly-hired employees with less experience earn salaries that are close to what current employees with more experience make.  This doesn't just mean UMass experience, but overall related experience.  This typically happens when market conditions change so that new employees are being hired at higher rates than annual base rate increases for existing employees have increased.

How are members supposed to know how make compared to others?

SAP has access to salary data that we  can pull for you and others in the same job code as you.  We do not pull salary information for people who work in your department and are a different grade or other jobs that are not the same as yours.  Equity reviews are an apple-to-apple comparison.

How is market value used when leveling a position in relationship to people in other unions? (ie. GEO, USA)

Market values are assessed when Umass hires new PSU staff and reviews equity and reclasses.  PSU B, and USA/MTA have a step ladder and grades that are the same for all employees in said grade and ladder.  Market Data is generally not part of their salary.  For GEO they bargain for salaries and have a set minimum hourly rate.  This rate can be higher based on the faculty or department discretion but never lower than the minimum hourly rate which is currently $32.66 an hour.

Keeps hearing from management that “we can’t give you more money because of the union” meanwhile UMass money is being used to recruit for advancement with higher salaries and signing bonuses – is that true?

The Foundation (which is where advancement employees now work) is a totally different entity from UMass – it is an independent 501(c)(3).  It is not UMass (or state) money that pays these employees, but the Foundation does their own payroll, budget, etc. 

When "management" tells employees that they cannot increase salaries "because of the union," this usually refers to the need to keep internal equity among PSU members in the same level/ job code.  So, even if a department has the money and wants to pay an employee more, they cannot if the higher salary would create an equity issue with other members.  Equity is a significant focus of the PSU CBA/ SAP appendix, and a significant factor that has to be considered when determining salaries.

Sometimes management uses that phrase just because they don’t know how else to say no. If you hear that, it is always okay to find out from a SAP Committee member whether it is a fact of contract restrictions, or just that they do not want to have to address equity issues.

When should I file an appeal?

If you receive a denial or an offer you don’t agree with the first step is to reach out to Jenn Pease, SAP Chair.  We will need you to sign and send us the appeal form.  We then bring it to TC to discuss and see if there is any room to make changes. An appeal to your findings has a very tight timeline, so if there is any chance you will want to appeal, reach out immediately.

If the initial meeting with total comp does not end with an adjustment or change, we will bring the case to be discussed to the next SAP committee meeting. The case will be discussed, and we will take a vote on whether the appeal is supported by our committee. We then submit our findings to the JEC and they will have the final say.  If it’s approved by them then the union will pay for a third party to hear the case from each side where a final determination will be made.  If it is declined at this level the appeal process will go no further. You do have the right to appeal the JEC’s decision to decline your appeal. The JEC denial will include steps to appeal in the report to you.