UC faculty, staff could be offered merit raises

University faculty and nonrepresented staff earning less than $200,000 annually will be eligible for merit raises under a plan announced this past week by the UC Office of the President.

The pool of funds — included in the budget passed last fall by the UC Board of Regents — was set up to finance the university’s effort to recruit and retain high quality academic and non-academic professionals — an effort that has been severely weakened by California’s budget crisis.

“Our non-represented staff members have not received a merit or cost-of-living increase for nearly four years and took pay cuts from the furlough program,” UC President Mark Yudof wrote in a letter to the 10 university chancellors. “Many are working longer hours as a result of budget-induced layoffs of their coworkers.”

The raises would be set at 3 percent of overall base pay and would use the existing evaluation criteria for faculty and non-represented staff. The funds for the merit increase come primarily from medical center revenues and grant funds, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

“About 18 percent of the money budgeted for all salary merit increases is coming from state general funds and slightly more than one-fifth is coming from other core funds,” Montiel said. “These include student fee revenue and UC general funds.”

The overall cost of the raises for non-academic staff is roughly $83 million, while faculty salary raises are expected to cost $57 million.

Academic Senate Vice Chair Robert Anderson contended that although this is a start, a longer term pay raise plan is necessary.

“In 2007, the Regents adopted a four-year plan to bring faculty salaries to competitive levels. Unfortunately, they abandoned the plan after one year, as the budget deteriorated,” said Anderson in an email. “The Academic Senate has strongly argued for the need for a multi-year plan to restore the faculty salary scales to competitive levels.”

The evaluation process for academic personnel will be the same as it was during the last merit pay raise process in 2007, Montiel said.

“For academic personnel, there are ongoing performance evaluations that happen roughly every three years,” said Montiel. “They have gotten merit raises in the past — under this program anyone whose most recent performance evaluation was positive will get a merit raise.”

The process for non-academic personnel — more than two-thirds of whom earn less than $80,000 a year — is somewhat different, according to Montiel.

“For non-academic staff, the performance evaluations happen in the fall, and any merit raises would be retroactive to July 1st of this year,” Montiel said. “Performance evaluations will happen for all nonacademic staff every year. For academic personnel, their reviews happen every three or four years.”

Four hundred members of senior management will be left out of the merit pay raise increases — even though “the vast majority of (UC) senior leaders are compensated below market-levels, as study after study has documented,” according to Yudof.

Montiel said that all these actions are related to Yudof’s desire to strengthen UC chancellors’ recruiting tools.

“It’s also about excellence, academic excellence,” Montiel said. “Yudof is aiming to ensure that chancellors have another tool for recruiting and retaining faculty members at all levels.”