We in the biomedical research community at the University of California, Santa Cruz are writing to express serious concerns about the salary budget cuts proposed as of 6/17/09. This letter represents the concerns of technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and fellows, research specialists, and project scientists in the departments of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, Chemistry, Biomolecular Engineering, and Computer Engineering. We generally fall into the category of “staff”, and thus we understand that any staff salary cuts instituted in the future will affect all of us. However, it is important to understand that nearly all of us are paid by funds that do not come from the state of California, but rather from federal grants awarded by the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and grants awarded by many other public and private agencies. In many cases, the grant has been awarded to a Principal Investigator, and then is used by the Principal Investigator to pay us for our research work. In other cases, the grants are awarded directly to us to cover the salary necessary for our scientific training. So, as the majority of our salaries are not provided by the California state budget, a mandatory salary cut for our staff will not ease the University budget crisis, while it will indeed make our day-to-day living more difficult. Other effects of a mandatory reduction of our salaries are that: 1) This will actually reduce the amount of money the University receives in indirect costs from grants. 2) This will decrease the amount of income tax we pay to the state of California, further exacerbating the existing budget crisis. 3) The depletion of the funds coming into the University of California due to these salary cuts will make it increasingly difficult for the University to support its employees. 4) Lastly, the salary cut propos al may, in the longer-term, undermine confidence in the University of California system and lead talented people to move to states that are able and willing to support higher education and scientific research.See also
In summary, we strongly urge that no salary cut be instituted for University of California-affiliated personnel like ourselves whose salary is independent from the California state budget. Below you will find our signatures along with those of our supporting staff and Principal Investigators. Sincerely, The biomedical researchers of the University of California, Santa Cruz
- Chronicle for Higher Education article
- Green Economics Blog
- Paul Thompson from UCLA wrote a letter to UC President Yudoff here
Here is a communication from UC about the furloughs:
June 18, 2009
UC Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan Options – Questions & Answers
A summary of options for systemwide furloughs/salary reductions was sent to the UC
community on June 17, 2009. Following broad consultation, President Yudof intends to present
a specific option for approval to The Regents at their July 2009 meeting. To date, no decisions
have been made as to which option will be implemented. Below are answers to questions about
the proposals. Additional information will be added throughout this process as answers to other
questions become available and as the University approaches a decision on this issue.
Are these furloughs/salary reductions intended to be permanent?
No – the intent is for these actions to be temporary or short-term in nature, to help the University
through the current budget crisis. As indicated, the proposed duration for all three options is
August 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010 unless extended by the Regents.
Will furloughs/salary cuts apply to all employees, including faculty and represented
Yes. In order to ensure equity across the University, whichever option is chosen would apply to
all faculty and staff, except student employees. The Academic Senate has been closely involved
in consultation on these options. Implementation of the final plan is subject to collective
bargaining for represented employees. The President may recommend a hybrid Plan that
achieves the eight percent reduction in slightly different ways for the various employee groups.
If my salary is not supported by state funds, will I still have to take a furlough or salary cut?
Yes – participation is not based on the source of salary funds. Each of the options would apply to
UC employees whose salaries are funded by contracts and grants, clinical income and other
auxiliary activity, and general funds.
Will the proposed reductions apply to employees at the Lawrence Berkeley National
The intent is for whatever option is selected to apply to all UC employees, including LBNL
employees. Since LBNL is funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), UC will comply with
all contractual obligations with the DOE.
W ill this be additive for the senior leaders who have already taken a five percent pay cut?
The senior UC officials who voluntarily agreed to have their salary reduced by five percent will
have their salaries reduced by a total of at least eight percent under these options.
How will the furlough/salary reduction impact vacation and sick leave accruals, UCRP service
credit and benefit calculations, and other benefits?
Under each option, the intent is to protect benefits and leave accruals to the extent possible. This
may not be possible in all situations. This issue continues to be evaluated and no final decisions
have been made yet. Approval from the Regents is required to protect UCRP benefits from being
impacted by a furlough/salary reduction plan.
I volunteered to participate in START to help the University manage the budget situation. Will
I have to take further reductions if a systemwide furlough or salary reduction is implemented?
How these options impact/relate to the START program is currently being analyzed. More
information on this issue is expected soon.
What’s the difference between the three options?
All three options are intended to achieve the same budgetary savings and have the same impact
on employee pay -- each option is closely equivalent to an eight percent pay reduction. Option I
is a straight pay reduction with no changes to work hours. Under Options II and III, employees
will be scheduled to work fewer days and a number of holidays will no longer be paid holidays.
In Options II and III, will I be able to schedule the unpaid day at a time that’s convenient for
me and my department, or will the days be pre-scheduled?
This is still being looked at. The unpaid days would include a combination of University
holidays and additional days, but the precise mix of holidays vs. additional days has not been
determined. The additional days may be pre-scheduled by the University in order to manage
critical operations, for example to ensure patient care at a medical center.
For unpaid days, can I "make up" for the lost salary by using my vacation leave, sick leave, or
compensatory time off?
No. The objective of these options is for the University to achieve budgetary savings. Accrued
vacation, paid time off (PTO), comp time and/or sick leave all are forms of paid time off and
thus may not be substituted for unpaid days.
Will furloughs or salary reductions affect the health of the UC retirement plan?
The potential impact of the options on the funding status of the UC retirement plan is being
analyzed by the Plan Actuary, and this will be taken into consideration as decisions are made.
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