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For the week of August 10, 2009

Just two weeks after the University of California says it was forced by budget cuts to furlough “core” state-funded staff to save $184 million in salary costs, UC has agreed to lend the State of California nearly $200 million so it can continue with construction projects at eight of its ten campuses. “Surreal” is perhaps the best way to describe the plan.

Science explains the plan’s “crazy” mechanics, but doesn’t answer the question on the minds of most employees: if UC can afford to lend itself money for expansion, why can’t it do the same to support education and research from its billions in reserves?

Execs still get raises as UC cuts staffing, pay” was the front-page headline in the San Francisco Chronicle this Friday. As the regents voted for furloughs on July 16, they also quietly approved scores of executive pay increases, also known as “stipends.” The article drew heavily on investigative work done by UPTE members at UC Berkeley.

A new analysis from publicly available UC data shows that between 2006 and 2008, the gross amount paid to UC employees making over $100,000 increased by over $1 billion. The analysis also shows that in UC President Mark Yudof’s furlough plan, it would take the pay cuts of more than 10,000 average lowest-paid "tier 1" workers just to offset the extra $11.5 million for new executives making over $100,000 at UCOP.
Want to put faces on some of those executive pay raises? Check out a fun set of reprintable executive pay posters from an UPTE activist at UCSB.

UCSB employees poked fun at Yudof at a “BBQ Bailout to Save Education” in which a rather believable look-alike accepted a “Bad Business of the Year Award” for Yudof’s performance as UC chief executive, while across the street the real Yudof was given a business award.

True to form, Yudof told the Santa Barbara Independent that while the chancellors’ salaries were one-third below market, the university’s service workers are “sitting pretty,” since by his estimation, their wages are market-level at about $11.25 an hour.

A coalition of union and student activists organized a “Town Hall” at UC Berkeley, and were interviewed on the KPFA Evening News (story is about 17 minutes into the audio).

Another take on UC’s staff furloughs and soon-to-be enacted student fee increases appeared in the New York Times. A UC Berkeley faculty member comments, “'It takes a long time to build these institutions, but they can be ripped apart very quickly, and then it's really hard for them to recover.'' 

UC’s prestigious reputation “may be about to end,” according to a second piece in the UK-based Economist.


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