Monday, August 17, 2009

Robert Samuels (UC-AFT): How Do You Solve a Problem Like the UC?

How Do You Solve a Problem like The UC?

Right now UC-AFT are working on two central issues. On the one hand, we have been showing that the UC does not have a short-term budget crisis, since the university has so much unrestricted funds, and it continues to compensate some people at very high levels. We are also pushing for a state legislative hearing because the UC continues to deny in public that it can move money around, and the UC administrators claim that they have no unrestricted funds except state funds. This structure means that only instruction and staff can be cut, but everything else continues to grow.

The other problem is long-term, and it is our pension plan and investments. Just the investment losses alone will require major changes in our pay and the UC finances. UC-AFT still does not understand why everyone is talking about the $812 million cut by the state, while the UC lost $23 billion during the same period. For some reason, the faculty continue to buy President Yudof’s strategy to blame everything on the state and to ignore the incredible mismanagement by the UC of its own finances.

Our recent salary research is aimed at showing where the money goes, and how this artificial division between the profit-making sectors and the public sectors of the UC budget allows for the rich to get richer, while students, low-paid workers, and undergraduate instruction suffers. We need a new model of revenue sharing, and if we do not clarify how money is spent in the system, we will go down a very bad road. We also need to grow, and not shrink the university, because we need so much money to feed the pension system.

Bob Samuels, UC-AFT

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