UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: June 24, 2009

UC exaggerates financial situation to scare employees into accepting unnecessary pay cuts, furloughs and employees are not fooled  
Late last week, UC began circulating proposals for pay cuts and furloughs of up to 8% for employees. These proposals are entirely unnecessary, and are an attempt to pressure employees into accepting UC’s plan.

The cuts that the state of California may make to UC’s budget only add up to about 3% of the university’s total $20 billion budget. Less than 1/5 of the university’s budget is provided by the state; the rest comes from grants, fees, and UC’s money-making enterprises like the hospitals. UC has diverse and extensive “rainy day” funds that can be called upon to weather the current shortage.

UC could draw on these funds to preserve teaching and research through this difficult budget period. Instead, the regents have already increased student fees this year by 9.3%, and have instituted a hiring freeze.

Now, UC is trying to scare employees into accepting additional cuts. At town hall meetings across the state, staff and faculty have eloquently and vehemently expressed their opposition to the options for cuts being announced by executives who have enjoyed massive pay increases in recent years. UC’s threats constitute poor leadership and undermine the mission of the University that we are committed to. If UC can afford bloated executive pay and new buildings on every campus, UC can support the needs of the staff devoted to its research and teaching missions. It’s a question of priorities.

Nearly 90% of UPTE-represented technical (TX) and research (RX) employees are not paid from state funds. Cuts to these employees’ pay will not mitigate the state budget shortfall. TX and RX employees are paid from grants that already include raises, and most HX employees work for hospitals that are financially healthy. Cutting our pay means the money will be re-budgeted for equipment or other line-items.

Rather than showing its commitment to dedicated frontline employees and working for the speedy resolution of RX/TX contract negotiations, UC management has now withdrawn the paltry wage offer it finally put on the table after more than a year of bargaining.

Employees with union representation are protected from any pay cuts. UC cannot unilaterally implement furloughs, layoffs or pay cuts to UPTE-represented TX and RX employees. We remain in bargaining and UC has a legal obligation to negotiate any proposed cuts. UPTE will strenuously oppose these cuts. UC must retain the status quo that has existed since June 30, 2008 when our contracts expired.

UPTE-represented health care professionals (HX) have already started bargaining, and UC cannot unilaterally cut their pay. UC cannot violate union contracts that already provide for raises.

Unfortunately, UPTE’s administrative professional members (APs) do not have collective bargaining rights yet, and thus have no protections against pay cuts or furloughs, except by trying to mobilize together to critically question UC’s proposals. Working together with union colleagues in the represented TX, RX and HX units, APs are a vital part of the UPTE’s fight back against UC’s proposals.

Take Action!

  1. Join UPTE in protest on July 15 at the regents’ meeting in San Francisco and actions at all campuses. We will not be intimidated by false claims of crisis. UC must find solutions that do not harm UC’s staff, the most valuable asset at the state’s premier university.

  2. Join us in preparing for a strike if UC continues to violate its obligation to bargaining with UPTE in good faith. Let’s all stand together in sending a strong message to UC that we won’t bow to its unwarranted scare tactics.

  3. Post UPTE-CWA’s statement on UC’s financial situation in your workplace.
The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn for all members.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write him at
UPTE-CWA 9119  |  P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.704.8783  |  info@upte-cwa.org