President Yudof sent off a letter yesterday informing faculty and staff that there would be no salary increases in 2012-13 despite the passage of Prop 30 and the governor’s plan to fund three years of UC budget increases. Here is Yudof’s main message: “It is my hope that the passage of Proposition 30 last fall, and the proposed reinvestment in UC in the Governor's budget proposal last month, mark a turning point for our university. After several difficult years, UC appears to be headed on the path to financial stability. Unfortunately, we still have a way to go before the University stands upon a firm financial foundation. As you know, since 2008, UC has been forced to absorb nearly $1 billion in State funding cuts. Re-balancing the University in the wake of those cuts is still a work in progress, and one that requires many of the ongoing measures that helped UC survive the last few budget cycles. As a result, I very much regret that we will not be able to implement systemwide salary increases for UC staff during the current 2012-13 fiscal year. This includes Chancellors and senior leadership.” The first thing to point out is that Yudof’s claim that there can be no salary increases because the UC has had to deal with a billion dollars of “state budget cuts” is simply not true. As I have previously written, tuition increases over the last five years have far outpaced state reductions. What may be true is that the state has not met the UC’s desired funding, but Yudof’s letter is false and misleading.
We were told about this letter during a meeting at the Office of the President where we were discussing bargaining over the lecturer contract. Lecturers have been negotiating with the university since March 2012 over salary and other issues, but the university refused to discuss any economic issues until after the vote on Prop 30. Once Prop 30 passed, we were then told that the university cannot discuss economic issues until we signed off on pension and retiree healthcare issues. Now we are being told that even if we agree to accept reduced retiree benefits, there is still no money for salary increases. In other words, the university has been bargaining in bad faith, and they have proven once again that they do not accept the basic foundation of collective bargaining.
We are left with no choice but to go to the governor and the legislator to show them that the university believes that none of the money from Prop 30 and the multi-year funding agreement should go to undergraduate instruction. Moreover, according to the university’s own budget documents, virtually none of undergraduate student tuition is going to faculty salaries.
Surely at a time when students are going into massive debt to pay for tuition increases, they and their parents will be interested in the fact that the university does not think that tuition should go to support the faculty doing instruction and research. Parents and students might also be alarmed by the following statement from an Associated Press article: “As of May, there were 2,129 UC retirees drawing annual pensions of more than $100,000, 57 with pensions exceeding $200,000 and three with pensions greater than $300,000, according to data obtained by The Associated Press through a state Public Records Act request. The number of UC retirees collecting six-figure pensions has increased by 30 percent over the past two years, according to Californians for Fiscal Responsibility, an advocacy group that has analyzed UC pension data.” Virtually all of these pensions will be going to administrators, coaches, and medical faculty with no direct connection to undergraduate education. In short, UC is cutting core faculty and staff benefits and freezing their salaries in order to support the high wages and pensions of the highest compensated UC employees.