Davis Faculty Association

Archive for the ‘Faculty Welfare’ Category

Continuing deterioration of compensation and benefits

Dear Colleagues,

A year ago Colleen Lye and James Vernon, co-chairs of the Berkeley Faculty Association, drew the attention of faculty across the ten campuses of the University of California to the continuing degradation of their pensions, benefits and salaries.

Faculty were, they noted, still underpaid in relation to their peers at competitor institutions. Despite this salary gap they were being increasingly asked to pay more but get less from their health insurance and pensions. Moreover, the introduction of a new and less generous pension ‘tier’ for those hired after 2013, last year’s chaotic roll out of the new health plans with the prestige UC Care option working only on campuses with medical schools, and the cutting adrift of out of state retirees from all health plans with a good luck lump sum payment of $3,000, created new inequities between UC faculty.

This analysis has recently been confirmed by UCOP’s own study of total remuneration. The executive summary of this document contains the following depressing bullet points:

• Between 2009 and 2014, UC’s total remuneration fell from 2% below market to 10% below market.

• Health and welfare benefits fell from 6% above market in 2009 to 7% below market in 2014, primarily caused by higher medical employee contributions at higher salary bands compared to the market.

• Changes to retirement plan designs since 2009 reduced positioning against market from 29% above market to 2% below market.

• Total retirement decreased from 33% above market to 6% above market.

• Total benefits decreased from 18% above market to 1% below market.

It is the first UCOP study to compare the new (2103) and old (1976) tier benefits for UC faculty with equally depressing results.

• New tier retirement benefits (the defined benefit plan) are valued 16% below old tier retirement benefits.

• New tier retiree health benefits (medical, life, dental) are valued 23% below old tier retiree health benefits.

• New tier retirement benefits (defined benefit plan plus retiree health) are 17% lower than the old tier.

In short, we have moved to a new system where the old deferred benefits of our pension and healthcare helped offset lower salaries to one in which the cash compensation of salaries still lag behind our competitors and in addition benefits have now also been reduced to a point where they are below comparable institutions. In 2009 UC cash compensation by salary represented 68% of total remuneration, yet for assistant professors in 2014 it represents 86%.

The Faculty Associations believe that it will not be possible to retain and protect the quality of UC faculty if their salaries remain uncompetitive and the value of their deferred benefits continue to erode dangerously.

On-line petition to President Napolitano regarding health insurance

As you are probably aware, there have been many recent changes to UC Health Care, including the removal of UC retirees from UC health plans if they move out of California, reduction of UC contributions to retiree health care from 100% to 70%, and the discontinuation, a year ago, of Blue Cross Plus, Blue Cross PPO, and Anthem plans and their replacement by a new “self-funded” PPO medical insurance plan, UC Care, that left many UC employees without access to nearby providers.

In the last month, an especially difficult situation has arisen due to abrupt termination of Blue Shield’s contract with Sutter Health. The following petition message was written by the Santa Cruz Faculty Association, sister chapter of the Davis Faculty Association, requesting that President Napolitano look into these recurring problems and ensure reliable health care for UC employees.



Dear Colleagues,

As most of you are doubtless aware, the recent breakdown in talks between Blue Shield and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (Sutter) could have enormous and negative consequences for UC employees, many of whom will lose coverage or be forced to change medical providers. This impasse is only the latest in a series of changes to UC health insurance, and we are very concerned about the overall downward trend. We believe it is important for UC faculty to register their concerns and so are sponsoring the following petition, urging President Napolitano to make improvements to health insurance a top administrative priority.

We invite ALL UC faculty and staff – at ALL campuses to sign the petition, forward the link widely, and encourage your colleagues to sign as well.

To sign the petition, please go to the petition page at http://ucscfa.org/blue-shield-sutter-petition/

In solidarity,

What has the DFA been up to lately?

The DFA belongs to the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA). By far the largest independent dues-supported organization representing the faculty at the campuses of the University of California, CUCFA coordinates activities of the Faculty Associations on a statewide level, acts as collective bargaining agent for faculty at UC Santa Cruz, and maintains a lobbyist in Sacramento. The DFA Executive Director, Eric Hays, can be reached by email at info@cucfa.org and the 2013-2015 DFA chair can be reached at scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu.

Here is a brief reminder of some of the things the DFA has been up to in the past year:

• The DFA and CUCFA continue to produce material that highlights the disinvestment in higher education by California’s governor. An example of such work includes the annually updated “How Much Would It Cost to Restore California’s Public Higher Education?” This document became the centerpiece of our response to UC’s proposal to raise tuition up to 5% per year for the next five years for undergraduate and graduate students.

• CUCFA formed a partnership with the American Association of University Professors in defense and promotion of academic freedom, shared university governance, and the economic security of all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities.
• Concerns by the DFA resulted in a change in the practice of distributing materials from outside interest groups by the Chancellor’s office.  These materials are henceforth accompanied by a statement “that distributing material does not imply endorsement”.
• CUCFA produced a statement on academic freedom in response to a statement made by UCB Chancellor Dirks that evoked civility, echoing language recently used by the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Urbana and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (especially its Chair Christopher Kennedy) concerning the refused appointment of Steven Salaita. It also mirrored language in the effort by the University of Kansas Board of Regents to regulate social media speech and the Penn State administration’s new statement on civility. “Although each of these administrative statements have responded to specific local events, the repetitive invocation of “civil” and “civility” to set limits to acceptable speech bespeaks a broader and deeper challenge to intellectual freedom on college and university campuses.”

• CUCFA objected that Governor Brown proposed Regental nominees prior to notification, much less consultation, with the advisory committee specified in Article 9 Sec. 9e of the Constitution and therefore requested that the California Senate’s Rules Committee reject the nominees proposed by the Governor.
• CUCFA lobbied for passage of AB 1476 which would have provided UC with $50 million in additional state funding in the current year. Governor Brown vetoed AB 1476.

• CUCFA objected when UC President Janet Napolitano rescinded the 1989 Guidelines on University-Industry Relations without consulting with the Academic Senate.

• The DFA opposed the demolition of Solano and Orchard Park Student-Family Housing without a plan to replace them with similar subsidized graduate student housing: “This change will seriously undermine the efforts that faculty and the university generally are making to bring a diverse set of graduate students to our campus.”
• The DFA, and FA chapters across the state, supported graduate student workers in their negotiations with UC. At the time of the negotiations according to UCOP’s own survey, student stipends lagged behind comparative institutions at least $2,697 making recruiting graduate students into UC programs difficult. A new contract was ultimately ratified in June of 2014.

• The DFA is one of the sponsors of the annual Charles P. Nash Prize, named for a former Chair of the DFA and longtime Vice President of CUCFA. The Nash Prize is awarded annually to acknowledge achievement in and commitment to promoting shared governance in keeping with Charlie Nash’s exceptional efforts in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare. The 2014 Nash Prize was awarded to Linda Bisson, The Maynard E. Amerine Chair in Viticulture and Enology.
• CUCFA continues to produce material that details the persistent compensation gap between UC faculty and faculty at comparison institutions. This year’s report was titled “The Degradation of Faculty Welfare and Compensation.

• CUCFA, through its unionized Santa Cruz chapter, continues to work with UC to create online contracts that provide UC with the necessary clearance to distribute online coursework without requiring faculty to give up their intellectual property, their ownership of lectures and all accompanying materials.

• The restructuring of the university has led to a massive and costly expansion of senior administrative positions on campus. System wide, there are now more management positions than regular teaching faculty. Increasingly, significant policy decisions are made by administrators with inadequate direct experience and insufficient faculty input. We seek to reverse this process and make Davis again a faculty-led campus. We support the merit and promotion system and equitable salaries.
For more information on our activities, browse our website http://ucdfa.org. If you have colleagues who are not current members of the DFA who you think support the ideals of the organization, please encourage them to join at http://ucdfa.org/join.

With best wishes,

The DFA Executive Board

BFA sponsored talk on September 30, 5pm, at UC Berkeley

The DFA’s sister chapter at Berkeley, the BFA, would like to extend a warm welcome to DFA folk to come to an event they are organizing this coming Tuesday. Please invite your colleagues as well.

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The New Normal: What Does It Mean to Work at the UC Today

This event will address the rise of the new managerialism at UC and its implications for faculty research, teaching, welfare, academic freedom, and the tradition of shared governance.

Speakers: Christopher Newfield and Michael Meranze

When and where: September 30, 5pm, Wheeler Hall 300


(click on the image for a larger version)

RSVP for Nash Prize Dinner

Faculty should have received an invitation to this year’s Nash Prize Dinner via the Academic Senate mailing list. This reminder is being sent out as the RSVP deadline approaches. Non-faculty are invited to attend too.

You and a guest are cordially invited to attend a dinner celebrating this year’s winner of the Charles P. Nash Prize: Linda Bisson, The Maynard E. Amerine Chair in Viticulture and Enology.

The dinner will be Wednesday, April 30, 2014. 6:00 PM – Reception, 6:30 PM – Dinner. At the UC Davis Conference Center, Ballrooms A&B.

Dinner is $35.00 per person. RSVP with the attached card and payment by Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Please make checks payable to “UC Regents.” For information, call (530) 754-2262 or email Andrew Crotto at acrotto@ucdavis.edu.

The Charles P. Nash Prize, funded by the campus community and the Nash family and friends, is awarded by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the UC Davis Academic Federation, the Davis Faculty Association and the Nash Family to acknowledge achievement in and commitment to promoting shared governance in keeping with Charlie Nash’s exceptional efforts in promoting and advocating for faculty interests and welfare.

The prize is awarded to an individual who clearly represents advocacy, achievement and dedication within a body of service that exemplifies Charlie’s legacy.

The Degradation of Faculty Welfare and Compensation

UC faculty need to wake up to the systematic degradation of their pay and benefits. In 2009, when the salary furlough temporarily cut faculty salaries between 6 and 10%, faculty were outraged. Yet since then our compensation has been hit by a more serious, and seemingly permanent, double blow.

First, despite modest salary rises of 3% and 2% in October 2011 and July 2013, faculty take-home pay has been effectively cut as employee contributions to pension and healthcare have escalated. Faculty now pay more for retirement and healthcare programs that offer less. Secondly, faculty are no longer treated equally. Different groups of faculty are increasingly pitted against each other as – depending on our age or where we live or when we were hired – we receive different levels of retirement, health and other benefits.

Faculty salaries were already uncompetitive. Even with the recently-announced 3% raise, they remain 10-15% below UC’s own comparator institutions and a further 10% behind those of the private 4 (Stanford, Yale, Harvard and MIT).

Back in 2009 strong benefits, in the form of pension and health care provisions, once allowed UC to excuse its uncompetitive salaries by reminding us of what it called our ‘total compensation package’.

This is no longer true. Now, as continued austerity management grips University administrators, and campaigns are launched to divest public sector workers of their pensions and retiree healthcare, faculty are being stripped of these deferred (and other) benefits.

One reason faculty are largely unaware of the degradation of their benefits is that changes have been made incrementally and target different constituencies. Gone are the days when all faculty and retirees were treated equally and received the same benefits. And yet for all faculty these changes mean we are paying more and getting less.

Firstly, faculty are divided by a new two-tier pension system. The old pension, the so-called 1976 tier, has seen a steady escalation of employee contributions from 0% in 2009 to 8% in 2014. These raises alone mean that faculty take-home pay has deteriorated by as much as 3%.

The new pension introduced for those hired since 2013 has begun with a 7% employee contribution. Despite paying more new faculty get less. The minimum retirement age has been raised from 50 to 55, the retirement age for maximum pension has been raised from 60 to 65, and the lump sum cash-out and subsidized survivor benefits have been eliminated.

Secondly, although there is as yet no legal evidence that retiree health benefits are less ‘vested’ (and thus unalterable except by legislation) than pensions, they have been progressively stripped. And here again different groups of faculty are treated differently.

Since 2010 UC’s contribution to retiree health benefits has fallen from 100% to 70%, but this pales in comparison to the changes introduced in 2013 which have affected 50% of faculty and staff. All new hires, together with those with fewer than 5 years of service, or those whose age plus service is fewer than 50 years, will now receive nothing from UC towards their healthcare if they retire before 55. Meanwhile contributions for those retiring after 56 will be on a sliding scale (depending on length of service) beginning at just 5%!

Worse still, in what is being considered a pilot program by the Regents, retirees no longer living in California have been removed from UC’s insurance plans. Instead they will be given a lump sum of $3,000 per annum to help defray costs not covered by Medicare. This represents a significant shift of the risk and the responsibility for healthcare from UC on to retirees. If it generates the projected $700 million savings of total liability as reported by UCOP’s CFO to the regents this year, it is likely soon to be coming to a group of retirees near you.

Thirdly, in the fall, the majority of faculty and staff were forced to change their healthcare plan in little over two months. We were promised that these had been negotiated to secure great savings for UC and lower insurance rates for all UC employees. It quickly became clear that those lower monthly rates masked a huge turnover in eligible providers, geographically uneven coverage of service (across as well as between campuses), and considerably higher deductibles. It is too soon to calculate how much more faculty are paying for their healthcare, but once again we are certainly paying more for less.

It is time for faculty to wise up to this systematic and universal downgrading of our salaries and benefits that also sets different groups of us on different tracks. The contrast with the new contracts recently signed by CNA, UPTE and ACSFME is worth noting. In addition to significantly improved salaries, these unions have been able to maintain a single-tier pension (for an additional 1% contribution) and retain retiree health benefits.

So how will faculty respond? With a sigh of resignation? A determination to get an outside offer that would increase one’s personal compensation package? Or will we seek better mechanisms that would permit faculty to negotiate all elements of our compensation rather than have it decreed, and diminished, from on high?

Money behind CA pension proposition also secret money behind PBS pension news series

John Arnold — the billionaire former Enron trader who has been the financial backing for a proposed California ballot proposition that would eliminate constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including UC employees, if it gathers enough signatures to make it to the November ballot — turns out to be the hidden money behind a new a new two-year PBS news series titled “Pension Peril.”

Full story is at:

Here is an excerpt:

In recent years, Arnold has been using massive contributions to politicians, Super PACs, ballot initiative efforts, think tanks and local front groups to finance a nationwide political campaign aimed at slashing public employees’ retirement benefits. His foundation which backs his efforts employs top Republican political operatives, including the former chief of staff to GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey (TX). According to its own promotional materials, the Arnold Foundation is pushing lawmakers in states across the country “to stop promising a (retirement) benefit” to public employees.

Despite Arnold’s pension-slashing activism and his foundation’s ties to partisan politics, Leila Walsh, a spokesperson for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), told Pando that PBS officials were not hesitant to work with them, even though PBS’s own very clear rules prohibit such blatant conflicts…

The stealth Arnold-PBS connection, however, represents a major escalation in the larger trend. In this particular case, PBS seems to be defying its own rules and regulations about conflicts of interest. At the same time, the fact that PBS is obscuring the financial arrangement suggests the network may be deliberately attempting to hide those conflicts from its own viewers…
But most troubling of all, the report on Vallejo promoted the city councilor’s “campaigning to change (state) law to give cities the right to negotiate for pension cuts.” PBS’s “Pension Peril” correspondent noted that the legislator’s coalition is “hoping to get the initiative onto the ballot” so that cities can unilaterally cut public employee pensions. What the PBS “Pension Peril” series omitted is the fact that the “Pension Peril” series’ own benefactor, John Arnold, is the major financier of the very California ballot initiative PBS was promoting. Arnold’s involvement in that ballot measure follows his earlier funding of pension-cutting advocacy in California, which PBS also did not mention.

DFA Letter in Support of Graduate Students in Contract Negotiations

February 5, 2014

Jeffery C. Gibeling
Vice Provost – Graduate Education and Dean – Graduate Studies
Office of Graduate Studies – 250 Mrak Hall
1 Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Vice Provost Gibeling:

It is with increasing concern that the Davis Faculty Association (DFA) observes that UC and the Academic Student Employees (ASE) represented by UAW 2865 have failed to reach an agreement. UC’s resistance to the ASE bargaining position is counterproductive. It is extremely important that the UC system maintain the national competitiveness of graduate education at UCD and across all UCs. We are writing to you because we know you are as concerned as we are in these issues, and have devoted much effort to improving conditions of graduate students on campus. It is our impression that many of the bottlenecks to an agreement originate with UCOP and its legal team, as opposed to at a local campus level where students and their interests have defenders such as yourself.

As you know, our ability to bring strong graduate students to our campuses is based, in part, on the level of graduate student stipends we can offer; in this regard we have increasingly fallen behind our peer institutions. For example, according to the most recent UCOP Graduate Student Support Survey, the gap between UC stipend offers for years one and two and those from ‘top-choice’ peer institutions grew between 2007 and 2010 to $2,697 and together with the higher cost of living at UC institutions created a total deficit of $4,978. When surveyed, prospective graduate students who went elsewhere consistently praise UC’s academic resources, but chose other programs due to the higher cost of living and lower levels of financial support at UC campuses (Findings from the Graduate Student Support Survey http://j.mp/1fF52dr). The Report of the Taskforce on Competitiveness in Academic Graduate Student Support (http://j.mp/1fF5BE7), adopted by UC Academic Council in June 2012, declares “rising tuition and uncompetitive stipends threaten to seriously undermine program quality” and asks that additional resources be allocated for net stipends for academic doctoral support.

The GSI wage in particular is so low that our students often take more than one outside job to make ends meet in a high cost-of-living area, thereby retarding their time to degree, on which there are now normative caps. One such cap is the 18-quarter rule, which bans students from being a teaching assistant beyond 18 quarters, even though average time to degree for many fields is slightly above 6 years. Currently the 10 month (49.5%) GSI stipend is $17,655 for an incoming student. Some students may come in with fellowships, but their income drastically falls as soon as they start teaching to levels that are sometimes nearly half that being provided at our rival private institutions.

Greater consciousness of debt burdens and unfavorable academic job futures mean that talented Ph.D. students today are ever less willing to choose a school they may intellectually prefer over a school that provides more economic security. This may be especially true for graduate student workers who are first generation college students. UC was slightly ahead of its peer institutions for under-represented graduate students in 2004 and 2007, but fell behind in 2010 (The Report of the Taskforce on Competitiveness in Academic Graduate Student Support). Once the low levels of child care support and dependent health care support are factored into the equation, parents and partnered people may also be unlikely to choose a UC campus. These low levels of support restrict who attends the UC and limit the range of role models for undergraduates.

The recruitment of the most competitive graduate students has become increasingly difficult given UC’s financial disadvantage and unsupportive social climate. These issues directly affect DFA members because graduate students are a large part of our academic community. Being able to recruit competitive graduate students is factored into a faculty member’s decision about where to teach and conduct research, and where to continue working. We believe higher ASE wages, along with a commensurate increase in TAS funds to cover increased salaries, more child care support, and increased dependent health care support will help to level the playing field, and cease to disadvantage our academic student workers. We urge you to take proactive steps to communicate to UCOP the importance of this issue for preserving the academic distinction of graduate education at the University of California.

Yours sincerely,
The Davis Faculty Association board

cc: Chancellor Linda Katehi

Concern about UCD’s proposed response to inquiry about ASA membership

January 30, 2014

Provost & Exec VC Ralph Hexter
573 Mrak Hall
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Provost Hexter:

It has come to our attention that several faculty members have been contacted by Lynette Temple, Director of Legal Affairs. They have been informed that their names have come up in connection with a search of university communications regarding the American Studies Association (ASA). Your office directed Ms. Temple to take these actions in response to a request for information concerning whether “…any UC Davis funds currently support any ASA activity …”

We are deeply concerned about this, and specifically about why the university plans to single out individual faculty members in response to a request which does not appear to ask for that level of detail.

We intend with this letter to take no position either positive or negative about the actions of the American Studies Association. Rather, we are concerned with the obvious threat to academic freedom. To take an analogous example, how would the university respond to a request by opponents of genetically-modified agriculture for information about university relationships with Monsanto? Would individual faculty member’s names automatically be released?

We have two requests:

[1] That the university not provide personal information unless it is specifically demanded to do so, and required by law.

[2] For clarification from you about university policies concerning responding to such requests, and their implication for academic freedom.

The Board of the Davis Faculty Association

cc: Lynette Temple, UCD Director of Legal Affairs

Call for Nash Prize Nominations

The Davis Faculty Association, Davis Division of the Academic Senate, the Academic Federation and the Nash family invite nominations of candidates for The Charles P. Nash Prize for the academic year 2013-2014.

The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement and commitment in promoting shared governance and advocacy for faculty interests and welfare.

The Prize is awarded annually to a member of the UC Davis Academic Senate, the Davis Faculty Association, or the Academic Federation whose actions demonstrate an exceptional and extended commitment to shared governance and/or promoting faculty interests by ensuring equitable treatment of faculty. In the spirit of Charlie Nash, such activity must be above and beyond normal committee assignments or academic obligations, typically, spanning a period of time or one’s career.

Nominations are sought from any member of the academic community: students, faculty, staff , alumni, departments or units. Eligibility: All members of the Academic Federation, Academic Senate and Davis Faculty Association who have not previously won the award are eligible. Previous nominees who have not received the award may be renominated. Current Nash Prize Selection Committee Members are ineligible for nomination.

The Charles P. Nash Prize is designed to reward exceptional achievement in the spirit of Charlie Nash. Examples of Charlie Nash’s achievements included:

* Using the machinery of the faculty governance process, often invoking the mechanisms of Academic Senate committees, to achieve equity for individual faculty members.

* Making certain that the machinery of shared governance works well, both structurally and functionally.

* Contributing to analysis of shared governance, such as the Mending the Wall report.

* Working with others to craft the Nash-Goldman report which made recommendations for changes in the personnel policy for Academic Federation employees

* Supporting legislation that allows faculty to assign their own texts and protect their intellectual property rights

* Mentoring and advising faculty to guide them in finding their way thru the merit and promotion briar patch, as well as assisting them with their personnel cases within their departments and with the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Personnel

* Serving for many years in a leadership capacity on faculty committees to advocate for faculty interests, including:

* Chair of the Davis Faculty Association board

* Vice President of External A airs on the CUCFA board

*Chair of the Davis Division Academic Senate (2 terms)

The annual prize will be awarded in a public ceremony and will include a monetary honorarium. There is no restriction on the prize recipient with regard to the use of the prize.

Nominations should be addressed to: The Nash Prize Selection Committee. Letters of nomination accompanied by a one-page list of relevant accomplishments must be submitted electronically. Send your nomination materials to: nashprize@ucdavis.edu.

Deadline for Nominations: All nominations must be received electronically by 5:00 PM, Friday, February 1, 2014. Questions may be addressed to the committee chair (scalettar@physics.ucdavis.edu).

The Committee will rely upon material presented to it; therefore it is important that the letter and list make the best case possible within the space limitation. The Nash Prize Selection Committee will review the nominations and will select a recipient from the original slate of candidates. The Committee is permitted to select one recipient for each academic year.

2013-2014 Nash Prize Selection Committee
Richard Scalettar (Chair)
Daniel L Simmons
Zeljka Smit-Mcbride
Krishnan Nambiar

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