‘Our work makes the UC work’: UC releases annual wage report for 2020

photo of a UC-AFT Rally
Lisi Ludwig/File
UC-AFT rally in which members advocate for fair wages for lecturers and university essential workers.

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As part of its commitment to public accountability, the UC system released its annual report on systemwide employee compensation for the 2020 calendar year.

Based on the report, UC Berkeley ranked sixth among all 10 UC campuses for wage distribution, with total gross earnings and benefits for UC Berkeley faculty at $1.4 billion and $274 million respectively.

“UC faculty salaries have improved in recent years, yet they continue to lag behind the comparison benchmark UC uses to assess the competitiveness of its faculty salaries,” the report’s summary reads.

Consistent with previous years, the highest-paid UC employees based on 2020 gross income were athletic coaches and health science faculty. At UC Berkeley, the three highest-paid faculty by this metric in 2020 consisted of football coach Justin Wilcox, basketball coach Mark Fox and former basketball coach Wyking Jones.

On the other hand, many UC faculty members continue to struggle making ends meet, according to Caroline Luce, chair of the communications committee for UC-AFT, a union representing nontenured teaching faculty across the UC system.

“In six of the nine counties where UC campuses are located, the starting salary for a full-time lecturer at UC actually puts us below the HUD low-income threshold,” Luce said. “When you’re struggling to survive materially, it’s very difficult to give your teaching the attention that it deserves.”

The median salary for UC lecturers in 2019 was $19,067 — an “unsustainably low amount of money” in light of the high cost of living in California, Luce added.

UC administrative faculty and skilled trade workers’ — represented by the union Teamsters Local 2010 — gross earnings decreased 8.2% in 2020 due to hiring freezes and layoffs, according to Teamsters Local 2010 spokesperson Aimee Baror. However, managers’ compensation continued on an upward trajectory, growing by 5.3%, Baror noted.

“Our work makes the UC work,” Baror said in an email. “The 2020 UC earnings information reinforces the critical need for UC to pay its hardworking staff fairly instead of continuing to funnel more money into bloated management pay.”

As the fall semester approaches, UC-AFT plans to increase awareness about its campaigns through informational pickets and student outreach initiatives in hopes of pressuring UC President Michael Drake into negotiations, Luce added.

Similarly, Baror noted that Teamsters Local 2010 is preparing to enter negotiations with UC in October, demanding fair pay for its essential workers.

“We just want fair compensation that reflects our contribution to the campuses we serve,” Luce said. “We want real raises that keep pace with inflation and that keep pace with the incredibly high cost of living in the state of California so that we can be part of the campus communities where we’re located.”

Contact Rachel Raps at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @rachelraps_dc.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that UC administrative faculty and skilled trade workers suffered from wage cuts in 2020. In fact, they did not experience wage cuts, but the workforce’s pay overall decreased due to hiring freezes and layoffs.