Archive for April, 2007
To DFA Members: DFA and CUCFA meeting with UCOP Human Resources to discuss changes to employee health benefits. Request for your input.
The Chair of the Davis Faculty Association, Ian Kennedy, Myrna Hays, Executive Director of the DFA, Craig Flanery, Secretary of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), and Eric Hays, Director of External Relations for CUCFA, met with the Human Resources Department of the Office of the President on the 11th of April 2007 to discuss changes to our health benefits package.
The UC Office of the President has requested bids from providers of health benefits for employees and retirees; this process takes place every five years or so. All current providers, with the exception of Kaiser and Western Health Advantage, have been invited to bid. Kaiser and WHA will be retained but they have also been asked to implement wellness programs and other modifications to their current offerings. The bid process has requested offers of specialized services for such areas as mental health, chronic disease management, and prescription drug benefits that may be offered separately from the main plans or as supplemental coverage.
UC expects “low double digit” inflation in employees’ health insurance costs. At present, the University pays 86% of the total costs for health insurance. DFA will track how that fraction changes with time. There will clearly be a temptation for the University to shift more costs onto employees.
We were clearly told that there are no guarantees of continued coverage of all retiree health insurance costs, but UC remains committed to maintaining parity between active employee and retiree health plans (otherwise it would seem obvious that they may have a problem getting employees to retire). Retiree benefits are funded by a “tax” of $2.75 for every $100 of all fund sources for all units of the University. The State is supposed to contribute – for the last two years the State contributed zero. This year the Governor’s budget includes $10 M, a fairly paltry fraction of the total $200 M cost of retiree benefits. Retirees will continue to be classified in Pay Band 2 (currently $43,001–$86,000) for the purposes of calculating premiums.
The representatives from Human Resources claimed that there will be minimal disruption to the choice of physicians and on-going care as a result of this process. If members do experience problems, they should let DFA know so that we can communicate the issues to the University Human Resources Department. Redacted copies of the bids will be sent to CUCFA in mid-summer. We shall analyze the bids and send a brief description to our members. At that time we expect to learn more about the various options, including what specialty services might be offered and how they would fit with faculty interests.
We raised the issue of the current paucity of useful information that is available about insurance plans that can allow members to make informed choices. UCOP representatives urged us to provide advice about useful metrics for performance. Hence, we urge members to send us ideas for gauging performance of health plans – satisfactory resolution of direct billing disputes between doctors and insurance companies is one example where more information would be helpful. We might also influence UC to continue to offer plans that enable faculty to keep their current health care providers. Please send your thoughts and suggestions by email to Myrna Hays at the DFA.
The DFA Board has discussed the DPSS and its implementation. Our concerns and suggestions are contained within the statement that has been sent to the Chair of the Academic Senate and to the Executive Committees of the Colleges. We have asked for a full consideration of our analysis and suggestions.
The Board of the Davis Faculty Association is quite concerned by a number of aspects of the Davis Professorial Salary Scale (DPSS) that became effective July 1, 2006. As Chancellor Vanderhoef stated in his 2006 state of the campus address: “Our salary scales are essentially broken, degraded by years of stagnation and our need to offer very large off-scale increments to new recruits in order to be competitive. The result is growing salary inequity for those faculty members who have devoted themselves to this university.” We would add that the salary inequities are intensified further by the increasing use of large off-scales for retention purposes. We see the current version of the DPSS as the campus’s first attempt to deal with these problems, and as the Chancellor stated in his 2007 address, the DPSS “is not immutable.” We object to the apparent lack of Senate consultation, the basic unfairness, and the violation of Senate regulations that DPSS embodies. We spell out our concerns below and urge the Administration and the Senate to work together to address them.
- Inadequate Consultation The Administration allowed remarkably little time–just 9 days– for the Senate to review a proposal that alters the faculty’s salaries and conditions of employment. In a May 2, 2006 letter delivering the “final proposal” to the Deans and the Chair of the Academic Senate, the Provost noted that it took into account “informal input” from CAP, CPB and Faculty Welfare. We could find no written response from these committees to the Administration’s proposals. On May 9 the Division Chair sent the chairs of all the Senate committees and most of its subcommittees copies of the document, with a deadline of May 18 for the receipt of comments in the Senate office. The only written comment that we have been able to discover is that from the Executive Committee of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Either the committees were not given sufficient time to respond, or the Administration did not make clear that the DPSS would make such major and unprecedented changes in the nature of the faculty’s employment. We now know that since the DPSS is in place, individual faculty members are seriously questioning some of its provisions.
- The DPSS violates the APM’s definition of expectations of Professors V-IX. The Administration has used terms such as “the normal time at step,” and “last normal merit review period,” to justify the requirement that full Professors at Steps V through IX must have advanced at least a step in the last three years in order to receive the DPSS supplement, and that they continue to advance at that rate to retain the full supplement. The requirement that faculty at these steps advance every three years contravenes every applicable section of the systemwide Academic Personnel Manual. According to the APM, there is no “normal time at step” for Professors V through IX. APM 220 18 b 4 states unequivocally that these steps “may be of indefinite duration.” While the DPSS requirement that these faculty members obtain merit increases implies that those who do not do so are not meeting campus and University expectations for their performance, both the UC and the UCD APMs explicitly state otherwise. UCD APM 220-II-B-2, implementing the systemwide requirement (APM 220-0) for a five year review of those at full Professor V-IX, states that faculty at such rank and step who receive a satisfactory five year review “are continuing a productive career.” (The DFA does not take any position on the question of whether faculty who receive an unsatisfactory five-year review should retain the DPSS supplement. That is a question for CAP.)
In demanding that senior faculty advance every three years in order to obtain the DPSS, the Administration is unilaterally altering the conditions of employment for senior faculty on this campus despite the APM regulations. Furthermore, it alters the faculty’s long held understanding as to what constitutes a respectable, satisfactory, and productive career according to the University and their peers. The DFA urges the Administration to adhere to the explicit definitions of expectations of faculty performance set forth in the APM.
- The DPSS does not accord with the concept of salary structure set forth by the APM. The DPSS does not accord with any of the structures for professorial salaries currently recognized by the APM. According to APM 600-6, “Responsibility for issuing Professorial salary scales rests with the President after consultation with the Chancellors and the appropriate Academic Personnel Committees.” Thus, despite its title — the Davis Professorial Salary Scale — the DPSS is not a “Professorial Salary Scale.” It is a collection of tabulated salary supplements that, if awarded, yields unequal off-scale salaries.
The distinction matters because the Senate has a statutory role to play in formulating the campus implementation of off-scale policies. According to APM 620-80, “Chancellors in consultation with the appropriate committee(s) of the Division of the Academic Senate shall develop local procedures for the implementation of the off-scale policy.” APM UCD 620 implements this requirement.
According to APM UCD 620-10, there are only two criteria for the award of off-scale salary increments: market considerations (on either a disciplinary or an individual basis); and retention. The current DPSS policy does not comply with either of these conditions because it applies to ALL professorial faculty in the specified Schools and Colleges who do not already have an off-scale salary for one of these two reasons. Accordingly, if DPSS is continued, we believe that APM UCD 620 must be amended to incorporate the DPSS concept as a third basis for the award of off-scale supplements, with its own discrete implementation criteria that would be established after truly widespread Senate consultation. (As a stopgap measure a paragraph was added to APM UCD 620-18 on March 20, 2007 directing the reader to the text of Provost Hinshaw’s September 5, 2006 letter “RE Implementation of the ‘Davis Professorial Salary Scale’”.)
There is no a priori reason why the requirements for either obtaining or retaining a DPSS supplement should mirror those specified in the APM for off-scale salaries. Nonetheless, they do. In order for a faculty member to receive the supplement, and to retain the supplement, that faculty member must receive a merit increase within a stipulated time frame.
DPSS therefore means that faculty on a given scale at the same rank and step may well not receive the same salary. However, the principle which underlies “salary scales” at the University of California is that everyone on a given scale at the same rank and step receives the same salary except for those faculty members who were awarded an individually negotiated off scale salary increment. The DPSS clearly violates the concept of “salary scales” that has structured the faculty’s remuneration at the University of California.
Therefore, we emphatically recommend that when the DPSS policy is codified in a revision of UCD 620, any faculty member, housed in the Schools and Colleges to which the DPSS applies, who does not have an off-scale salary, should automatically receive and retain the DPSS salary supplement mandated for his/her rank and step.