Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UC Berkeley Mitigations in the Furlough Program

August 24, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Only this week have we learned the final disposition of many elements of the furlough plan's impact on UCB faculty. You have already received a transmission from Nathan Brostrom, which outlined the proposed plans for campus closure (December 23-January 6; March 22-26) and certain other features, and which informed you of convenient links, both UCB and UC Office of the President (UCOP), through which you can find answers to many specific questions.

I am writing to alert you to the many ways in which the furlough plan was changed dramatically in response to the faculty and staff feedback solicited by President Yudof and received as well by us. The original plan was highly standardized and provided very few exclusions and mitigations. By contrast, the final plan, altered both centrally and locally, contains the following features that were not in the original plan. I summarize here only those concerns that were most strongly and widely advocated in your feedback. More detailed issues are addressed in the links provided in Nathan Brostrom's CalMessage of August 20.


1. The salary reductions are now graduated into seven bands, ranging from 4% to 10%.

2. Pensions and benefits are not affected by the pay reductions.

3. Summer 9ths, from whatever sources (administrative stipends, endowed chairs, grants, etc.) are not affected by the pay reductions; they may be calculated on the 100% base salary.

4. The UCB Committee on Research will soon announce a plan for allocating to about 150 of the lowest-paid ladder faculty (those with base salaries below $85,000) summer-salary supplements equivalent to their pay reduction this year, in response to the submission of non-competitive research proposals. These faculty are disproportionately concentrated in the arts and humanities and the humanistic social sciences, including these disciplines within selected professional schools, such as Education and Social Welfare, among others.

5. All new ladder-faculty recruits who begin in residence July 1, 2009 or January 1, 2010 will be "made whole" through a partnership between deans/chairs and the EVCP that supplements their "recruitment allowance" using non-State funds for this purpose. This is in response to your arguments that ethical, legal, and reputational risks would attend the inclusion in the furlough program of these new ladder-faculty hires, who had recently been recruited in a competitive context.

6. Faculty are not required to provide university service during the mandatory and elective furlough days.

7. Some senior faculty have asked whether they may transfer a portion of the yield of their endowed chairs to colleagues in need. This may be done if the allocation is to be used for legitimate research purposes and is consistent with the terms of the chair. "Legitimate research purposes" include summer salary for a period during which the faculty member is engaged in research.

8. The following categories of employees are exempt from the furlough program:

a. all academic student employees (ASEs, which includes GSIs)
b. all post-doctoral fellows
c. all those paid 100% on grants and contracts, and
d. all those on H1-B visas.

We await word from UCOP on whether lecturers (Unit 18) will be exempt from the program. This remains a matter of discussion with the union.

9. Faculty with grants and contracts, research gifts, or endowed chair income who wish to pay themselves for furlough days during the academic year may do so, assuming that, in the case of grants and contracts, their granting agency explicitly allows the practice, and, in all cases, that they plan to conduct research on the indicated days. Other recruitment and retention funds may not be used for this purpose, as they are derived from State-funded sources (as also in #5, above).

10. For the policy on faculty and research staff whose appointment is split between grant funds and State funds, please consult the relevant UCB and UCOP websites.

11. Furlough days, both mandatory (11 days during campus closures) and elective (one's total furlough days minus 11), will be added to the normal 39 days of allowable, compensated days for earning outside income. Of course, this action and the previous one are mutually exclusive.

12. The Office of the President has decided that faculty may not take their elective furlough days on those days when they are scheduled to teach.

13. It is our intention to urge the Office of the President to eliminate or, if events necessitate, to drastically reduce this furlough program after one year, ending August 31, 2010.


We acknowledge that the concept of "furlough" better fits the life circumstances of staff than of faculty, most especially those faculty who do not have external funding for research or consulting. For that reason, some faculty have expressed dismay that they may not take furlough on days they would otherwise be teaching. In the case of faculty, this program may better be thought of as a temporary pay reduction. However, had we used different rubrics for faculty and staff, it was possible that, for technical reasons, several of the above mitigations would not have been permissable. Indeed, it was for that reason that the Academic Senate's Budget Committee urged us to use the term "furloughs" rather than "pay reduction" when describing the faculty program.


Many faculty have expressed concern about our valued staff employees who are not covered by any of the above mitigations. On the one hand, it is undeniably the case that most staff do not have the alternative sources of income that inform many of the faculty mitigations above. It is equally true that staff employees are subject to layoffs while faculty are not. On the other hand, our staff have been allocated more furlough days than faculty because they are year-round employees, and staff receive genuine vacation days during the mandatory and elective furlough days. In any case, our staff will be feeling a disproportionate share of the pain during the coming years and we ask you to please be attentive to their needs and accord them the respect, recognition, and support they deserve. We are proud of the fact that, unlike many private universities, our staff employees are not shouldering the burden of the furlough program alone. With faculty participation, this furlough
rogram has, in total, generated savings that would otherwise have required about 450 staff layoffs to accrue.

Thank you for your assistance as we attempt to navigate through the difficult waters in which the State currently finds itself.

George W. Breslauer
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost


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Anonymous said...

UCB Chancellor Birgeneau spends $3,000,000 for consultants to do the work of his job when he and his world class faculty and staff can do the work internally and impartially.

What a waste of $3,000,000 during a recession! Contact your California Senator or Assemblymember. Take action to save $3,000,000

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