E-Bulletin for University of California Administrative Professionals: December, 2009

Furlough program implemented unfairly, chaotically: How much will it really save?
The Regents have implemented their furlough program for all UC staff who are not protected by union contracts, including administrative professionals, on all campuses. Different campuses are handling the furloughs differently, although all are instituting expanded mandatory campus closure periods. The end-of-the-year mandatory furlough days range from 7 at Berkeley, to 3 at Merced and San Francisco. And some departments are choosing to close for even longer periods of time.

Some campuses and/or departments strictly schedule employees’ remaining furlough days in advance, while others allow employees complete freedom to pick their furlough dates. Some departments allow people to use furlough days in advance of accruing them, while others don’t, or have restrictions on the number that can be used before they are accrued.

It remains to be seen just how much money will actually be saved when you factor in:
  • the number of employees who are exempt from furloughs (all medical center, LBNL, and grant-funded employees)
  • allowing faculty to avoid furloughs by entering a “furlough exchange program” and charging more of their time to extramurally funded projects
  • the amount of administrative time required to monitor the various furlough reporting systems
Researchers at UCB’s Labor Center recently released a study (http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/10/15_furlough_report.shtml) showing that the state’s 3-day-a-month employee furloughs are so “poorly designed” that they actually don’t save nearly as much as predicted. After the “savings” are calculated, we may find a similar situation here at UC.

Students and staff ramp up action to protect UC
It’s been impossible to read the news lately and not find something about the various crises confronting the University of California. The threats to the future of public higher education in California have forged new alliances between students, staff, and faculty. In the latest round of student building takeovers, students have embraced staff issues by explicitly opposing furloughs and demanding the reinstatement of laid-off staff. Faculty have publicly stated that they oppose the furloughing of employees who make less than $40,000 annually. And staff have opposed not only layoffs and furloughs, but also the 32% student fee increases that continue to move a UC education further out of reach of employees, their families and communities.

The various campus organizations and coalitions have spawned numerous blogs, websites, letters to the editor, petitions, pieces of legislation, conferences, teach-ins, and marches. Keeping track of them all can be dizzying, but one sure way is to check UPTE’s website frequently, or subscribe to UPTE’s Monday Memo. We’re doing our best to track the coverage and are happy to share what we learn.

Hold the date: March 4, 2010
Plans are still very much in flux but there will be (at the very least) statewide actions in support of public education in California on March 4, 2010. As of this writing, it looks like this may go national. Look for breaking news on demonstrations and marches involving K-12, community college, CSU, and UC community members.

All the news that fits your Monday mailbox
UPTE’s Monday Memo is a once-weekly email digest of stories of interest from the past week. It is compiled by a group of UPTE administrative professionals and is filled with links to stories that may be of interest to University of California employees. Click here if you’d like to subscribe to the Monday Memo.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!
The last year has been challenging for UC’s administrative professional employees. We have been the first to feel the effects of furloughs, layoffs, reorganizations and pay cuts because we don’t have collective bargaining rights and a union to protect us.  We stand a better chance of protecting our careers if we work together. If you support a union for UC’s administrative professional employees, please sign an UPTE “commitment card.”

This bulletin provides a resource for workplace issues affecting UC’s staff professionals and ways we can work together to solve them. It also keeps us updated on administrative professionals’ organizing efforts with the University Professional and Technical Employees union (UPTE).

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