daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • DECEMBER 06, 2022

Take a look at our 2022 midterm elections special issue!

Union research shows potential paths for UC budget without salary cuts

article image

KAREN CHOW | FILE

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

MAY 20, 2020

Local union researchers revealed findings Tuesday that indicate the UC system may be able to avoid austerity measures such as cutting salaries when dealing with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299 Research Director Claudia Preparata and her research team conducted the study through an analysis of the UC system’s policies and guidelines, annual financial reports, investment reports, credit agency reports and UC Board of Regents meeting minutes over the last 12 years. Preparata’s research team took note of factors including Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act funding, reimbursements by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and savings from the lack of travel and maintenance due to shelter-in-place policies to conclude that the university can avoid austerity cuts.

UC Office of the President spokesperson Claire Doan said in an email, however, that although the CARES Act will provide some relief, the direct assistance that campuses will receive will not be sufficient to cover the March financial impact on the university.

“The university has choices,” Preparata said during a research presentation. “Ultimately, our research finds that the UC has resources to weather the crisis, preserve the integrity of the enterprise, maintain quality education and research and, at the same time, avoiding austerity that would disproportionately hurt its most vulnerable communities.”

Preparata also presented two strategies that can be used individually or combined by the university to avoid austerity. One strategy would be to scale down $5 billion to $6 billion of funding from working capital pools and $1.8 billion from the university’s endowment fund.

With that strategy, the UC system can temporarily increase the utilization of endowment funds to make an “extraordinary payout” that will provide an additional $100 million to $500 million of funding for campus needs such as financial aid, according to Preparata.

The second strategy is to access low-cost borrowing techniques amid historically low rates.

“These are not ongoing, long-term solutions, but during such extraordinary times, these are solutions that UC has at its disposal to lead the way toward economic recovery and to ensure that its most vulnerable members are not disproportionately impacted,” Preparata said at the presentation.

UC administration has taken steps to address COVID-19’s economic impact, including a 10% budget cut from the state, by implementing leadership pay cuts and a hiring and salary freeze, as well as a paid leave program for employees impacted by COVID-19, according to Doan.

She also highlighted the necessity of continuing to fund student instruction and support services, along with basic operations and facility maintenance.

“Successfully navigating this crisis will require a strong partnership between UC and our union leaders,” Doan said in the email. “We are grateful for the dedication and hard work of our employees across the system in support of UC, our communities, and our greater mission of public service, which is now more important and impactful than ever.”

Contact Dina Katgara at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dinakatgara.
LAST UPDATED

MAY 20, 2020


Related Articles

featured article
The UC system reached a tentative contract agreement Tuesday with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299, a union that represents systemwide patient and service care workers.
The UC system reached a tentative contract agreement Tuesday with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, or AFSCME Local 3299, a union that represents systemwide patient and service care workers.
featured article
featured article
The UC system reached a historic tentative agreement Tuesday with service workers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 Union, or AFSCME Local 3299. The tentative agreement ultimately puts an end to outsourcing UC service jobs, while also making it easier for eligible contract workers to convert to UC employment.
The UC system reached a historic tentative agreement Tuesday with service workers of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 Union, or AFSCME Local 3299. The tentative agreement ultimately puts an end to outsourcing UC service jobs, while also making it easier for eligible contract workers to convert to UC employment.
featured article
featured article
The UC Board of Regents met for a second day at UCSF on Wednesday to discuss financial aid, workers’ pension funds and federal advocacy.
The UC Board of Regents met for a second day at UCSF on Wednesday to discuss financial aid, workers’ pension funds and federal advocacy.
featured article