Archive for August, 2001
by Charles Nash
To date, the active lobbying efforts of CUCFA have been devoted almost entirely to faculty salary matters. The “original” State Budget for UC, which the Governor submitted in January, as well as the budget proposed by the Regents in November, underestimated the increase that would be needed to maintain UC faculty salaries at parity in fiscal year 2001-2002 according to the customary CPEC methodology. Consequently, the Governor’s budget proposed a net 3 % salary increase for faculty under the umbrella of UC’s “compact” with the Governor. UC and CUCFA hoped that the May Revise would provide an additional 0.9% (or ca. $7 million) augmentation to bring faculty salaries to parity.
CUCFA representatives sitting side by side with UC Vice President Hershman formally testified in favor of the above funding before Legislative committees at every available opportunity. In addition, Jim Bruner and Joanne Bettencourt from our lobbying firm of Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe, LLP, met individually with key legislators. At one point they had even convinced a legislator to put in a “member’s request” to try to capture the “additional” 0.9%.
As you of course now know, because of energy costs and other drains on the State treasury, all of this was to no avail. UC’s gross funding augmentation under the “compact” was essentially cut in half, and faculty and staff merits and promotions will consume virtually all the remaining monies in that particular budgetary pocket. UCOP has yet to announce the size of the COLA for 2001-2002–or if there will even be one.
Along with the budget CUCFA has been tracking several bills of particular interest to the UC faculty. Two of them, AB 1063 (Aroner) and AB 1611 (Keeley) deal with possible means for assisting the construction of student, faculty and staff housing near UC and CSU campuses. Of the two bills, AB 1611 is making the best progress toward passage. AB 1063 has evidently stalled in an Assembly committee, but AB 1611 has passed the Assembly and was up for hearing in the Senate Housing and Community Development Committee on August 20.
In brief, AB 1611 would create a California Educational Facilities Authority that could enter into agreements with nonprofit entities to finance the costs of construction of the housing types in question. UC supports both of these bills in concept, but has asked Member Keeley to amend his bill to include a Higher Education-Related Housing Loan Program proposed by a UC Housing Task Force. UC’s governmental relations staff report that so far Mr. Keely has shown no interest in doing so.
CUCFA has formally supported SB 1061 (Alarcon). This bill would require the Regents to submit annual reports to the Public Employee Relations Board by March 1 on specified activities relating to the obligations of the University under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act. PERB would in turn be required to submit reports to the Legislature by September 1 on the status of specified labor relations at UC. The bill is supported by essentially all UC’s employee organizations but opposed by CPEC (turf warfare). The University has taken no public position on the bill but there can be no doubt that they would be very happy to see it quietly vanish into the night. SB 1061 was passed by the Senate on June 6, passed out of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, and is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee