UC academic employees to receive 3 percent salary increase

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To help compensate for rising costs of living in California, UC faculty and other nonunionized academic staff will receive a 3-percent salary increase starting July 1 under a recent directive from UC President Janet Napolitano.

The increase will apply specifically to all UC faculty and other nonrepresented academic personnel but will exclude student employees and nonrepresented librarians. The salary increases will cost the UC system an estimated total of $117 million, according to the proposed 2014-15 UC budget.

“Our contributions to pensions have been rising, so the salary increases are to try to offset some of those costs and provide more consistency and stability in our pay practices,” said UC spokesperson Brooke Converse.

Salaries for faculty and other nonunionized academic staff were last raised in July by 2 percent, which was the first general increase to their pay in five years. According to the 2013 UC Accountability Report, in 2011-12, the average pay was about $85,000 for an assistant professor, $95,000 for an associate professor and $140,000 for a professor.

Because nonrepresented staff do not belong to unions, they lack collective bargaining power, meaning that if unionized workers bargain a salary increase, it does not extend to nonunionized employees.

According to Converse, a nonunionized employee herself, this has led to inequality between salaries of unionized and nonunionized UC staff. She added that the increase will help “equalize things across the board.”

James Vernon, co-chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association, says the pay increase is welcome but is more of a necessary measure than a raise.

“I think the salary increase is (a) very good thing, but the 3 percent is just keeping us level, given the rising cost of living in the Bay Area and the increased contributions faculty are making to their pension and healthcare,” Vernon said.

Mary Gilly, vice chair of the UC Academic Senate, argued that this measure, though a good first start, doesn’t sufficiently compensate for increased costs.

“It’s definitely not enough, but it’s better than the 2 percent (raise) we received previously,” Gilly said. “We’ve been disadvantaged in terms of salaries for a long time, and our contributions to retirement and health care continue to go up.”

Vernon also believes the increase does not go far enough and argues that it will increase the inequality among faculty, resulting in a divide between those on the regular salary scale and those who receive additional salary supplements.

The salary increase is also a measure to address concerns of faculty retention. According to the proposed 2014-15 budget, faculty salaries were 11.2 percent lower than salaries at other comparable institutions of higher education for the 2012-13 school year, with the gap expected to widen this year. This gap has led to issues attracting and retaining faculty, especially younger faculty with families to support, the budget stated.

“We want the university to stay competitive in terms of our salaries,” Converse said. “We want people to see that our pay practices are fair.”

Contact Kathleen Tierney at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @kathleentierney.