A few years ago, architects and architects’ unions agreed to a pay freeze that allowed them to negotiate a new contract.
It’s the first pay deal in nearly two decades, but that’s not stopping architects and their supporters from making a new push for more pay.
In an email to members of the Architectural League of America (ALA), an advocacy group that supports the labor rights of architects, ALA president Mark Kritzer said that the collective bargaining agreement should be “revised to include an explicit ban on ‘greed.'”
That’s not exactly what Kritter meant.
He also suggested that the bargaining process should include a “no-nonsense” rule that would prevent architects from taking pay raises while also preventing them from negotiating with the unions.
But the ALA isn’t the only group pushing for such a ban.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), a union for architects, has already proposed a rule that wouldn’t bar them from taking a raise, Kritner said.
And last week, a group of architects and union representatives sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to sign an executive order banning the use of “greed” in the labor contract.
And while the unions have called for a pay increase for architects in the past, they’re now proposing that this new union-negotiated deal would have to be in place for at least a decade.
In a statement to the New York Times, AIA President Robert L. Wood said that while the proposal would be good for the economy, “it would be harmful to architects and the profession.”
“It is not the job of the American public to support this pay increase and a freeze in pay,” Wood said.
The AIA has been one of the groups most vocal advocates for a wage freeze, which is why it signed on to a letter last week urging Obama to sign it into law.
The union’s position was also supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents more than 20,000 architects and other professional workers.
In that letter, the union urged Obama to create a national wage freeze and “make it clear to the private sector that they cannot increase the minimum wage without the support of the public.”
The AASA and AFSCME are not the only groups pushing for a new pay freeze.
In May, the Architect’s Guild of America, a professional labor union that represents more more than 2.2 million architects, announced that it would be asking for an increase in pay for the next two years.
And a recent survey by the Association of State & Local Governments (ASLG) found that nearly half of architects think that the pay freeze is necessary to protect the economy.
And in addition to the AIA, several other organizations have joined the call.
The Association of American Publishers (AAAP) has called for an immediate freeze of wages, and the American Institute for Architects (AIA) and the National Architectural Teachers Association (NATTA) have called on Congress to enact a “new labor law” that would freeze salaries for the profession for at-least two years and prohibit pay raises for any length of time.
The AFL-CIO is also pushing for the pay raise.
The labor federation has proposed a new bill that would give members of Congress a one-year salary freeze, with the option to extend it if Congress does not act.
The bill has been opposed by unions like the AASL and the Architect-Architectural Union (AAU), and has been backed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is expected to rule on the matter soon.
In fact, Congress has just voted to extend the pay increase proposal until 2019.
While the new union proposals aren’t as sweeping as the AIGA or AIA, the labor push is still significant, as are the proposed pay freezes.
The ALA is asking for a freeze that would cover the first 10 years of the new contract, and AIA President Richard Niebla has proposed extending the freeze for at most five years.
The unions are also pressing for a “permanent” freeze, meaning that the contracts will stay in place until the labor agreement is ratified.
And they’re pushing for an even longer-term freeze, similar to the one that the AICPA and the AAU put forward last year.
“It’s clear that a long-term, permanent wage freeze is in the best interest of our profession,” Kritzers said.
“We’re hoping that Congress will act on this in the next few months, and we’ll work with them to get it done.”
And if the AISA and AIAs proposals do come to pass, the unions say that a new deal should cover more than just the first two years of a contract.
They also want to protect their members from the new wage freeze for as long as the labor agreements continue.
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