Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Faculty Welfare’ Category

Faculty Associations’ Letter to the President of Long Island University

September 8, 2016 – As you may already know, three days ago, President of Long Island University Kimberly R. Cline and the Board of Trustees locked out the faculty of the LIU Brooklyn Campus. After contract negotiations on a new contract dragged to the start of a new academic term, the administration simply ended negotiations. Such a lockout has never happened before in higher education in the United States. The administration not only locked out the faculty, but they also cut off their pay, their benefits, their health care, and even their university email. (For more up to date information see https://academeblog.org/2016/09/08/lockout-of-faculty-at-liu-looking-down-into-the-abyss/).

Convinced that this gross violation of labor relations and shared governance practices must be met with swift and resolute denunciation, CUCFA has sent a letter to President Cline http://cucfa.org/2016/09/letter-to-the-president-of-liu/ inviting her to desist from her chosen course of action and return to the negotiating table. We invite all DFA members to pay attention to the unfolding of events and participate in the discussions that are likely to follow regarding how to deal with this dangerous precedent were LIU’s administrators to persist with the look out. You can also sign an online petition hosted by the AFT.
https://actionnetwork.org/letters/end-the-lockout-and-bargain-a-fair-contract-now

We Supports the UC Academic Senate Resolution Rejecting the “2016 Tier Pension Plan”

On February 10, 2016, the Assembly of the Academic Senate of the University of California adopted the following resolution and sent it to UC President Janet Napolitano:

The Assembly rejects the imposition of the PEPRA cap on the University of California and the discontinuation of the current pension plan in the absence of any plan or program to fund or to provide compensating increases in total remuneration, so as to prevent harming the mission of the University of California by eroding its ability to recruit and retain the best faculty. [1]

The Council of UC Faculty Associations strongly supports this resolution and calls on President Napolitano and the UC Regents to reject this disastrous, ill-conceived and unnecessary plan.

Background:

In fall 2015, President Napolitano and Governor Jerry Brown, the so-called Committee of Two, engaged in private talks about UC’s budget and pension plan. As part of their negotiations, Napolitano agreed to a new “2016 tier” to UC’s retirement plan that would limit the amount of covered compensation that can be used in calculating retirement income based on the 2013 Public Employee’s Reform Act (PEPRA) legislation ($117,020 in 2016), which was designed to address instability and the high cost of the California Employee’s Pension System (CalPERS). In response to Napolitano and Brown’s deal, the Regents appointed a Retirement Options Task Force (ROTF) that proposed two plans for a new 2016 tier. [2]

The proposed 2016 tier and adoption of the PEPRA cap would create inferior retirement options for future faculty (who are more likely to be women or under-represented minorities), create a two-tier retirement system and further undermine total compensation for faculty. The proposals will greatly weaken the University’s ability to recruit and retain the top faculty, undermine UC’s ability to make the competitive offers necessary to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members, and increase inequities between the UC campuses while doing little to address the unfunded liability of UC Retirement Plan.

In addition, the process that led to the decision to adopt the PEPRA cap and institute a new retirement tier lacked transparency, careful deliberation, and adequate consultation with the Senate.

We continue to collect UC employee signatures in opposition to these proposed changes at: http://www.protectmypension.org/

 

[1] The full text of the resolution: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/AssemblyPensionResolution2-10-16.pdf

The full Academic Senate letter and divisional reports on the new retirement plan: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/reports/documents/DH_JN_ROTF_2-12-16.pdf

[2] For an analysis of the proposals, see Celeste Langan, “Retirement plan impacts entire community,” http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/12/343390/

Act now to prevent further degradation of our retirement system

The University of California is currently considering introducing a new  pension plan for its employees hired after 2016. These proposed changes  will dramatically reduce pension benefits for most new faculty.

The Davis Academic Senate is planning to have two town hall events  to discuss these proposals, one on Monday, January 25, at 10 am, at the  UCD Med Center’s Center for Health and Technology lecture hall 1341. The  other on January 28, at 10 am, in MU II. Please attend to learn more details or  to express your opinion on these issues.

The Davis Academic Senate has also set up a comment form at where you can express your concerns about this plan.

Your opportunity to provide input to the Senate lasts just a couple  weeks. For some purposes, it will be most effective to provide input  this week.

Please read on for additional background and contact information.

This ill-conceived and ill-advised plan, which was negotiated behind  closed doors by President Napolitano and Governor Brown without any  engagement with the Academic Senate, the Regents, the Legislature, or  the larger university community, will do serious damage to the quality  of the University of California.

While the details are highly technical

the implications are not:

1) This is a serious cut in benefits to faculty and many other  professional staff, such as staff scientists and nurses, hired after  July 2016. (See pages 44, 45 and 84 of the task force report.)

2) UC faculty are already much more poorly compensated than faculty at  UC’s peer institutions despite the fact that the cost of living in most  parts of California is very high.

This plan will make it much harder to attract faculty and other  professionals and keep them here.

3) This plan does not do anything to make the existing pension system  healthier and could actually decrease the rate at which the unfunded  liability is retired. (See page 57 of the task force report.)

We agree with the assessment of Academic Senate leaders J. Daniel Hare  and James A. Chalfant’s analysis who concluded:

“If salaries don’t increase to compensate for these reduced benefits,  then UC will have to settle for a lower-quality of faculty who did not  receive better offers elsewhere. Many UC faculty members were hired in  spite of more lucrative salary offers elsewhere, just as many have  either declined outside offers or declined to pursue them. It may have been true at one time that benefits made up for our uncompetitive  salaries. The 2014 Total Remuneration Study showed that no longer to be  the case. While salaries and benefits continue to lag, and we are  contemplating making the lag even greater with the new-tier options, it  is important to note that most of the non-pecuniary attributes of UC  employment also are declining.”

As Academic Senate Chair Dan Hare stated in his remarks to the Regents  in September:

“Any reduction in either salary or benefits surely will have  consequences for the ability of UC to build and retain a future faculty  that is as distinguished as the current faculty. As recommendations are  brought forward in early 2016, I encourage the Regents to carefully  consider not only the budgetary cost of future retirement options, but  also their impact on how faculty members behave in terms of recruitment  and retention. If we are not careful, small budgetary savings will risk  far greater costs to the University, our students, and the citizens of
California.”

We urge you to sign our petition http://www.protectmypension.org/to  express your opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan.  We will forward the names of those that sign to local campus faculty  welfare committees so they are aware of local concern about this issue.

UCOP President Janet Napolitano has also invited faculty feedback. Please consider  sending a copy of your comments to us at newtier@cucfa.org.

Petition opposing changes to the UC retirement plan

The Davis Faculty Association, via the Council of UC Faculty Associations, is a member of the UC Union Coalition. A Union Coalition petition in opposition to detrimental changes to UC pension benefits is available here:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

Please read it and consider joining in the opposition to changes that would harm the quality of the university.

Some background material about this issue:

Following unfortunate developments in the Governor Brown/President Napolitano Committee of Two, the Governor’s budget May revise, and the final State budget, the 2016 Retirement Options Task Force has been working to modify key elements of retirement benefits for faculty and other employees hired after June 30, 2016. The Task Force sent its report to President Napolitano on Dec. 15, 2015. The report will be widely released on January 15.

Although we have not seen the report, the information that is currently available indicates that it will recommend changes that are detrimental to the University and to future employees. In particular, it will concede to the President’s decision in the Committee of Two to impose a lower cap on pensionable income for future employees. This will likely be only partly compensated for by a defined contribution supplemental plan.

Available information also indicates that the report fails to oppose the offering of a full defined contribution plan, which new employees can select rather than the current defined benefits of the UC Retirement Plan.

We have already written about the harm that will be done to the University if these changes are adopted:

http://cucfa.org/2015/11/uc-task-force-considering-pension-cuts/

By reducing total compensation, these proposals will reduce the ability of UC to recruit and retain top quality faculty and staff.

Please consider objecting to these changes by signing the petition at:

http://www.protectmypension.org/

UC task force considering pension cuts – we need your help

President Napolitano has charged a task force with developing a new 2016 UC Retirement Plan tier for faculty and other employees hired after June 30, 2016. We urge you to read CUCFA’s letter which details the proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan and lays out the threat they pose to overall compensation for new faculty, as well as for the health of the pension system for all faculty. The letter includes a link and a pdf version with the names of faculty and task force representatives to whom concerns can be directed.

FA statement to the UC Regents about proposed new UCRS tier

Professor Celeste Langan spoke on behalf of the UC Faculty Associations at the July 22, 2015 UC Regents meeting during the public comment period. Below is a copy of her full comments:


 

As co-Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association and on behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, I wish to address the Regents concerning the third discussion item of the Finance Committee agenda, item F3, “Update on Final 2015-16 Budget.” The update, produced by the Office of the President, misleadingly claims that the final budget “incorporates the funding framework developed by UC and the Governor.” If you’ll recall, the “framework” of the May Revise proposed that the state make a contribution of $436 million toward the unfunded liability of the UC Retirement Plan. The final budget, however, promises only a “one-time payment” of $96 million; there is nothing in the budget that commits the state to two additional payments of $170 million. Yet even this meager one-time payment is contingent upon Regential approval of a cap on pensionable salary consistent with PEPRA (Public Employee Pension Reform Act) for employees hired after July 1, 2016.

The Council of UC Faculty Associations is opposed to the University making permanent changes in the structure of its retirement plan in exchange for a very modest one-time contribution from the State. We are especially opposed to the introduction of a full defined-contribution option. There is absolutely no justification for the proposed introduction of a full defined-contribution option; neither the Legislature nor the Governor called for the introduction of a Defined Contributions plan in aligning the UCRP with PEPRA. Yet UCOP seems bent on introducing such an option, to the point that their statement exposes their intention as a foregone conclusion rather than a possible outcome of consultation and deliberation — those elements of what we once understood as “shared governance.”

I call your attention to the third paragraph on page 3 of the F3 agenda item. First OP declares, “The President will convene a retirement options task force to advise on the design of new retirement options that will include the pensionable salary cap consistent with PEPRA. The retirement options will be brought to the Regents next year for review and approval.” But apparently the “design of new retirement options” is a fait accompli, for the penultimate sentence of that paragraph declares, “new employees will have the opportunity to choose a fully defined contribution plan as a retirement option, as an alternative to the PEPRA-capped defined benefit plan.”

Since the two minutes allotted in the public comments session is the temporal equivalent of Twitter’s 140 characters, let me ask: #What’s up with UCOP? If I had to speculate, I’d say that UCOP’s attempt to replace Defined Benefits with Defined Contributions suggests its preference for a mobile, “flexible,” precarious professoriate with a consequently short-term institutional memory — a professoriate that wouldn’t recall that only 6 years ago, the relative merits of defined contribution versus defined benefit plans were thoroughly, carefully, and widely discussed by UC constituents. Given substantial evidence that defined benefits are more cost-efficient than defined contributions in achieving the same level of benefits, it was agreed that the University of California was best served by continuing with UCRP as a defined benefit plan. Thus in 2010, when the President recommended and the Regents endorsed pension reforms, UCRP was preserved as a defined benefit plan.

Ironically, the paragraph in question concludes, “For represented groups, retirement options will be subject to collective bargaining.” Well, the UC Faculty Associations represent a good number of those faculty, members of the Academic Senate, without collective bargaining rights, and we say that UCOP has vitiated the interests of that faculty, both those vested in the current UCRP and those who will be hired after 2016. We deplore the introduction of a different tier of faculty benefits, but we firmly oppose the attempt of UCOP to introduce a fully defined contribution plan in this untoward and unjustified manner.

First round is on us, June 10th at Sudwerk

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association invites all UCD faculty to join us over a beer – or other drink – at Davis’s Sudwerk restaurant at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th. The first drink will be courtesy of the DFA.

Come discuss the issues confronting UC. We want to hear about your concerns, your suggestions, and any other input you may have for the Board of the DFA. To be effective in representing you, we need your help.

Please forward this message to your colleagues! As the University of California continues to face challenges, we need concerted action as much as ever.

Please join us on the 10th.

Day of action being scheduled for April 15

The Davis Unit of the UC Student Worker’s Union — UAW 2865 — has asked us to alert you to an upcoming day of action to fight for a $15 minimum wage. It is occurring on April 15th.

More information about the event can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1017263978301349/

Buses will be provided to bring students to Sacramento or Berkeley and then back to Davis for free. People can sign up at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1cVCmd7o3QJzH78_ghOd4kkhU-pgUy6IcT4IkWADmYdE/viewform?c=0&w=1

Nash Prize reception and dinner

The Nash family, the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Davis Faculty Association jointly sponsor the annual Charles P. Nash Prize to honor the outstanding achievement in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare by a member of the Academic Senate or Academic Federation. This year the prize is being awarded to Eric Schroeder, Lecturer Emeritus in the University Writing Program, in a reception and dinner to be held on May 12th.

In the words of the selection committee: “Dr. Schroeder served all constituencies of the campus community unusually well, teaching and mentoring not only students but also new faculty. He is, indeed, the epitome of someone who believes in–and lives–the Principles of Community that the campus subscribes to and the principles of shared governance described in the prize call.”

Please respond by May 5th following the details in the attached Nash Prize Invitation with RSVP (PDF). For more information, call (530) 754-2262 or email Louise Uota, lfuota@ucdavis.edu.

Potential change in UC healthcare options

Faculty Colleagues: as you may be aware, the University of California is considering restructuring the provision of medical plans for its employees across the ten campuses of the system. These changes would have a dramatic impact upon the health care options currently available to faculty and other UC employees. In brief, the plan is to create a new UC Care HMO program that will replace Health Net and possibly Kaiser. The aim is to generate savings for the university by forcing UC employees into a monopoly healthcare system that will be both less convenient and more expensive to use, as well as cause severe inequities of provision between campuses.

More details can be found in a letter that the CUCFA Board (CUCFA is the systemwide organization of faculty associations that the Davis Faculty Association belongs to) has written and plans to send to President Napolitano, asking her to undertake serious study of the manifold consequences of this plan and to make transparent the financial projections driving it. We would like for faculty to add their names to this letter so that President Napolitano sees how important these health care options are to us. If you are a UC faculty member, please add your name to the letter by visiting:

http://cucfa.org/healthcare-options-petition/

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