Wednesday, May 13, 2009

UC Regents Report on Executive Compensation

To UC-AFT Librarians --

Below please find the link to the annual report of the Regent's Committee on Compensation on executive-level pay and benefits.  This report was presented at the telephonic meeting of the Regents last week.  At that meeting, record-setting salaries were approved for new Chancellors at UCSF and UC Davis, while student fees were increased by 9.3%.

Go to the Compensation Committee Report

Note that the $4.85 million in bonus pay detailed in this report on executive compensation is almost exactly the cost of UC-AFT's proposal to the University to bring professional librarians close to salary parity with their counterparts at the CSUs.

Note as well that the Regents' Committee justifies this extra pay and benefits for UC's highest-paid employees on the ground that this expenditure represents only .54% of UC's overall annual payroll of over 9 billion dollars. Why worry about so small a cost, the report implies?

The report states repeatedly that bonuses and competitive pay are necessary to recruit and retain the best professionals. For example:

"In order to compete in these markets for the highest quality individuals, UC must and should reflect the same market practices, or our top quality health sciences professionals, for example, will merely transfer to a hospital that will pay competitively."

Why does UC so readily use this kind of market analysis for senior executives, coaches, and doctors, but fail to see that it also applies to its librarians?

Finally, note that in the "The UCBudget -- Myths and Facts" document (recently produced by President Yudof's brand new $4 million marketing department), the University states the following:

"Markets are a reality. The University needs to be able to pay market wages to attract and retain quality people. Markets are also different for different employment groups, and the University needs to be competitive in the markets that apply to each employment group. All groups deserve respect and a competitive wage, but the University will need to pay more for certain jobs than it does for others, just as all other employers do."

"Myths and Facts" then proudly points to the example of the new $64 million AFSCME contract as an example of efforts to address market gaps "at every level of the University." As the pamphlet notes, "...salaries for UC service workers are now comparable to -- and in some cases higher than -- similar positions at CSU."

(Oh, the irony...haven't we been saying some stuff about CSU salaries for a while now?)

Please do take the time to examine the Regent's report on executive compensation and all of its details, especially in the attachments. Why are extra bonus payments to UC's already highly-compensated executives and coaches a higher priority than a fair salary fix for UC's librarians?

UC has the money to pay out this $4.85 million in bonus pay to 111 individuals who already are very high earners. UC claims to have the concern for market equity and salary fairness across all ranks. Yet it has nothing to offer its badly undercompensated librarians.

I highly recommend that all librarians take a good long look at this report. It's hard to imagine a more clear -- and more troubling -- illustration of UC's priorities.

Karen Sawislak
Executive Director, UC-AFT

Thursday, May 7, 2009

April 30 events

On April 30, UC-AFT organized events at every campus to draw attention to the fact that undergraduate education at UC is under fire. It is a short-sighted "solution" to budget shortfalls to fail to provide adequate resources to the libraries and to UC lecturers, especially when the University's own audited financial statements show that it has over 5 billion dollars in unrestricted net assets.  This posting spotlights some of these actions.

This was the scene at UC Santa Cruz last Thursday, where over 350 turned out to a UC-AFT sponsored event to protest UC's apparent budget priorities-- and protect undergraduate education. Unit 17 Chief Negotiator Mike Rotkin was the emcee of the event. As if to prove the point of the rally, Mike received a layoff notice the next day from his job as coordinator of field studies for the Community Studies major at UCSC -- in this position, Mike works with dozens of UCSC undergraduates each year as they complete the field work component of their academic program. Other long-time lecturers who have anchored critical undergraduate programs are facing similar threats. Mike and his Santa Cruz colleagues and students now are engaged in a fight to save the Community Studies major, a signature program of the UCSC campus, and are otherwise mobilizing to protect the instructional program for undergraduates. For more information, see their Facebook page: "Coalition to Save Community Studies."

Librarian Ken Lyons, a member of the Negotiating Team, spoke to the UCSC crowd about the Unit 17 salary fight.

Students and other supporters are fighting the UCSC cuts and systematic under-funding of library services by uniting behind this slogan: "Chop from the Top."  A new haircut apparently is soon to appear on campus to dramatize this theme.

Meanwhile, UC-AFT lecturers and librarians held a similarly-themed rally at UCLA. The previous weekend, UCLA librarians had collected hundreds of signatures on our salary petition at the LA Times Festival of Books -- and were a highly visible presence to the thousands of community members who came to this campus event. On April 30, a substantial group came together on the steps of Powell Library to call upon the University to gives students -- and those who educate them -- their due. Among others, Communications and African Studies lecturer Paul Von Blum and UC-AFT President Bob Samuels (a Writing Program lecturer at UCLA) spoke to the crowd.

Finally, "Hug the Library" events happened at UCSB and at UCR. Here, supporters came together and formed a human chain around the campus central libraries.

To get a sense of the impressive energy, size, and enthusiasm of the UCR event, please check out UC-AFT's first-ever appearance on YouTube:

Go to UCR "Hug the Library" Video

Thanks to everyone who worked to organize these events and to everyone who came out to show their support.

Karen Sawislak
UC-AFT Executive Director

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bargaining Update #11: Mediation session on April 17, 2009

At the mediation session on Friday, April 17, we continued to attempt
to work toward settlement of our salary issues.

There are still significant gaps between the parties and at this point
we do not have another mediation session on calendar.
Nonetheless, the mediator is not convinced that it is impossible to
reach settlement, and she has mandated that we stay with the process
for at least another two weeks. By statute, we cannot move on to
factfinding until the mediator certifies that the mediation has

As noted in our previous posting, the mediation process is
confidential and we therefore cannot share details of our discussions.
We are continuing to review our options and the full Unit 17
Bargaining Committee will participate in any decisions about next
steps. We expect to have more information for the entire unit in
early May.

In the meantime, librarians are continue to organize across the
campuses. Thanks to all who participated in our button and T-shirt
day on April 17.

This coming weekend, April 25-26, UCLA librarians will be out
petitioning and handing out bookmarks and buttons at the LA Times Festival
of Books, an event that brings thousands of book enthusiasts (who
hopefully appreciate librarians!) to the campus. If you would like to
join them, please contact our UCLA Field Representative Maria Elena
Cortez at 310-330-6906 or via e-mail at

Also, please watch for activities on your campus on Thursday April 30,
when UC-AFT will be calling upon the University to prioritize
undergraduate education. At UCSB, this will take the form of a "Hug
the Library" event, where supporters will encircle the library to
dramatize the need for UC to provide adequate salaries to librarians.

There will be rallies and teach-ins with similar themes at other
campuses -- be sure to watch for announcements from your local
officers and field representatives and to come out on April 30.

Karen Sawislak
Executive Director

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bargaining Update #10: Mediation session on March 24, 2009

Nine members of the Unit 17 negotating committee met with the UC team in a mediation session on March 24, 2009. Pursuant to HEERA (the collective bargaining law for higher education), the actual content of the mediation is confidential.

We can say that the session was productive and that the state-appointed mediator helped to move both parties away from the impasse we had reached on salary and professional development funding. We have agreed to a second mediation session, which has tentatively been scheduled for Friday, April 17.

The Unit 17 Bargaining Committee with be meeting on April 4 at the Sheraton Gateway at LAX to consider these latest developments and to move forward with our broader project of organizing.

In addition, please see below for the text of Bargaining Committee member Michael Yonezawa's strong statement to the UC Regents sitting in Committee of the Whole at the Regents' Meeting at UCR on March 18, 2009:

"Good Morning, my name is Michael Yonezawa and I am a UCR Librarian and member of the UC-AFT.

We have been told by UC Administration that, “Librarians [and apparently libraries] are not a priority for UC at the current time.”

At the bargaining table, UC offered us an insulting zero % salary increase. Yet, UC has billions of dollars in unrestricted funds.

After decades of ignoring the need for increases in librarian compensation, UC Librarians are now a minimum of 15% behind comparable pay for librarians in the California State University system and are paid less than most community college librarians and librarians at public libraries for comparable work.

Low salaries for UC Librarians have resulted in serious recruitment and retention problems on virtually every UC campus.

Underfunding of UC Libraries hurts the quality of our collections and services and in turn affects the quality of the research and instructional mission of the University.

The “Open Book” on the UC Seal symbolizes the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge by the University. The UC Libraries and the people who make the Libraries function are critical to the physical embodiment of that symbol.

Regents, show your allegiance and support fair wages for ALL employees who are committed to making UC a world class university.

Thank you."

Karen Sawislak
Executive Director

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bargaining Update #9-- January 9, 2009

Library Bargaining Update for January 9, 2009

By Mike Rotkin, Chief Negotiator for Unit 17, UC-AFT

The UC-AFT and UC Administration Negotiating Teams met in Oakland at UCOP on January 9, 2009. The two teams came to tentative agreement on all outstanding language issues, but remain far apart on the remaining compensation issues – primarily salary and professional development funding levels. We were able to get new language in the Professional Activities and Development article (Article 3) that clarifies that concerns about the denial of leaves (such as a request for time to attend a conference), will be addressed via the Leaves article which is grievable and subject to third-party arbitration. Within the professional development article, the amount and timing of professional development funding for individuals will continue as not subject to grievance or arbitration; however, the University agreed for the first time in writing that such decisions will not be “arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable.”

On the much larger issue of compensation, the University Administration has responded to the Union’s request for a modest increase in professional development funding (PDF) with only a token 1% increase. Further, the University has responded to our proposal for a new salary scale that would bring UC librarians comparable pay to CSU librarians with an offer of a zero ($0) increase. Needless to say, we were more than a little shocked. We realize that UC is facing some budget problems, particularly in terms of the roughly 19% of its annual budget that comes from the State of California. However, as we have demonstrated at the table with hard evidence:

1) UC has literally billions of dollars in unrestricted funds that could be used to fund the rather modest requests of UC librarians.
2) Other groups of UC employees, including police, nurses and other hospital workers, and various groups of top executives continue to receive pay increases.
3) The University has said that it plans to fund Senate faculty increases in the near future that will cost easily ten times more than what the librarians are requesting.
4) The cost of unreasonably low pay and professional development support falls not only on our members and their families, but on the UC libraries as an institution and on the libraries’ various patrons – the faculty, students, staff, and the citizens of California. There are now serious problems with retention and recruitment of librarians at UC and the resulting workload pressures on the remaining librarians only reinforces the recruitment and retention problems for obvious reasons.

And the University Administration’s Team has not even attempted to deny any of these facts. They made it plain at the table at our last bargaining session in December that librarians are not a priority for UC at the current time. We could be charitable and assume that this was an unfortunate shorthand for: “UC librarian compensation is not a priority for UC at the current time,” but the concept in either form is very telling.

We were particularly shocked at the University’s offer of no compensation increases. We expected that the Administration would not be offering us a large package, but, frankly, an offer of nothing was unanticipated and contrary to earlier informal indications of what we might see from the University.

We had thought that the University would offer at least some increases at the Associate Librarian level to begin to address the severe compression problems created by the increases won for Assistant Librarians last spring. It now seems that even this small step towards salary improvements has been blocked by the University Librarians – apparently (although we don’t know for sure) out of concern for other priorities in their library budgets. Members of the UC-AFT team, and I assume other librarians reading this information, were dismayed to discover that it is not simply general University budget concerns, but a set of skewed priorities on the part of the people running UC libraries, that is responsible for the insulting “zero” offer from UC at the table at our last session.

Despite the general belief that it is unwise for a bargaining team to “bargain against itself” by reducing the cost of a previous proposal unless there is movement on the other side, the UC-AFT Negotiating Team offered new proposals to the Administration on both wages and professional development funding. We reduced our demand for a wage increase to a flat $10,000 a year increase for Librarians at the top end of the scale . Further, we scaled back our demand for per capita annual PDF from $3000 to $2500 (and reduced the demand for an increase in the University Research Fund from $50,000 to $42,000). We did this because we want to signal the Administration that we are prepared to bargain in good faith and that we have not yet offered our last and final proposal to them. Our new proposals reduced the estimated total costs of our economic proposals from roughly $5.85 million a year to $5.15 million a year. (And remember that this cost is in the context of a University budget with billions of dollars in unrestricted funds! As we prepare for continued bargaining and/or possible impasse, we are currently preparing materials that would offer the public information on some of the many, many lower priority activities on which the University currently spends over $5 million annually.)

Beyond our reduced demand, we also made it clear that if we could come to an agreement over salaries and PDF, the UC-AFT was prepared to drop its proposals for child care and tuition waivers that remain on the table. We also explained that we were open to counter proposals on both articles and that such counter proposals could include various ways to reduce the immediate costs to UC for implementing our contract, for example, through “trigger mechanisms” that would only fulfill our goals of at least reaching comparability with CSU compensation over time. (It should be noted that even our initial bargaining proposals would, now, only bring us to comparability with CSU compensation as it stood last spring, since CSU librarians have received pay increases since we developed our initial proposals!)

The UC Administration responded that they would need some time to consult with their principals (ULs and the finance people at UCOP one assumes), before responding to our new proposals. We clarified at the table that neither party is interested in continuing much longer with bargaining if there is not going to be serious movement at the table. We agreed to give the Administration until early February to come to the table with a response to our unprecedented bargaining against ourselves. Myron Okada, the Chief Negotiator for the Administration said that they had heard our concerns, that they did take our proposals seriously, and that they would meet with their principals to see if there would be any movement on their side.

As we wrapped up our bargaining session at the table, as Chief Negotiator for Unit 17 librarians, I said that “as those who have bargained with me before know, I am not into bluster at the bargaining table, but the Administration should not be lulled into a false sense of confidence that UC librarians will respond to insulting offers at the table with the same passivity that they may have experienced in some past bargaining. Librarians at UC are upset and beginning to get mobilized. UC should not be surprised to see librarians showing their displeasure in campus demonstrations or be shocked by articles appearing in newspapers and professional journals that highlight UC librarian concerns."

In the end, as in all bargaining, what we can get in the way of compensation increases at the table depends less on the logic of our proposals or the persuasiveness with which we deliver our proposals, than on the level of organization, mobilization, and militancy of our members on the various campuses. One would wish that this were not the case at a major university (which most of us at one time or another might have believed was ruled by reason), but by now we should know better.

When the Administration tells us at the bargaining table that they have no response to our rational and persuasive arguments, but that librarian compensation is not a UC priority, we have two possibilities: suck it up and accept that response, or organize ways to demonstrate to them that librarians and other constituencies whom they do care about will not accept such a view passively. That is a choice that Chief Negotiators don’t get to make. In the end, the fate of the UC librarians with respect to compensation is in the hands of the librarians themselves. The UC-AFT will provide every resource at our disposal to support whichever direction the librarians choose for themselves.

Bargaining Update #8-- December 10, 2008

Librarian Bargaining Update for December 10, 2008
By Mike Rotkin, Chief Negotiator, UC-AFT

To say that UC Librarians will find this bargaining update disappointing is a classic understatement. We went to the bargaining table on December 10, with low expectations in terms of what the administration might offer in response to our two biggest economic issues – salaries and funds for professional development. In both areas, UC librarians lag far behind their colleagues with comparable education and experience at the California State Universities and most Community Colleges in California. We have also provided ample evidence that, despite the current world-wide economic crisis and the California budget crisis, that UC has more than sufficient unrestricted funds available to meet the reasonable demands of UC librarians. We also provided the Administration team with a relatively extensive list of other UC employees, including UC legal counsel, UC police, UC hospital workers, and others who have received significant pay increases or generous severance packages after the news of bank failures and the market crash hit. We have spent the last two bargaining sessions demonstrating all of this beyond any reasonable doubt.

Beyond this, we have demonstrated with an abundance of concrete evidence, that the negative impacts of significant under-compensation for UC librarians falls not only on librarians and their families, but on the UC libraries as institutions and on the faculty, students, staff, and public who depend on the UC libraries as users. Serious problems of recruitment and retention have resulted not only in increased workload for librarians working in understaffed departments, but also in the UC libraries falling in their national standing and declining levels of service for library patrons.

Given the current depressed economic mood, and irrespective of the actual ability of UC to meet our reasonable demands, librarians had not been expecting a generous proposal from the University Administration. We were, however, shocked when the Administration offered as a proposal, the current contract language for salary, i.e. absolutely no increase. The University also offered only a laughably small bump in professional development funding: a1% per year increase for the current minimum levels guaranteed at each campus through 2010 (this proposal represents a cost to the University of just a bit more than $8000).

Bargaining protocols prohibit us sharing the comments of individual members of the Administration team, but it was very clear that at least several of them shared our dismay at the lack of authority their team had been given to settle this contract. It has been generally clear that they do not deny the facts of our presentations and that, in general, they have no argument against our position that the UC librarians deserve significant pay increases and increased professional development funding. But they made it clear to us at the table that librarians are not a priority for UC.

It was tempting to simply declare impasse at that point and leave the table, but we have scheduled at least one more bargaining session on January 9, 2009 to test whether or not this is truly the Administration’s last and final offer. We intend to restructure our last offer (without beginning a process of bargaining against ourselves) to see if there is any way we can resolve our differences before declaring impasse.

Also at the bargaining session on December 10, the Administration did bring in two experts to provide us with additional information on the University budget and on the current state of the UC Retirement System (UCRS). Both presentations were well organized and helpful. While there was nothing in the budget presentation to dissuade us from believing that UC has the resources to fund the librarian proposals on the table, the presentation on UCRS did make a rather compelling case that contributions will need to be started up again if the system is going to maintain its ability to cover future retirements without reducing the benefits of the current retirement system. Of course it remains to be seen what those new contributions will be and what relative share will have to be contributed by the employer and the employees. The Administration expert did indicate that he thought the first increase in employee contributions would probably be a redirection of the 2% most employees currently have deducted for the Defined Contribution Plan. He also thought that there would be a match of some kind by the employer, but it was not clear at what percent that would be set. The Regents plan to take action on this matter in January (or perhaps February).

So, in sum, not a happy day at the bargaining table for librarians. We intend to continue and expand our education of our members, the campus community, and the general public about the current outrageous situation in the libraries. A meeting of the Librarian Bargaining Committee (two representatives from each campus) was also set for Saturday, January 10 in Oakland – exact location to be announced. (But if they have not done so, members of the bargaining committee should purchase their plane tickets and make hotel arrangements if they are staying overnight between the Friday bargaining session and the Bargaining Committee meeting on Saturday – contact Karen if you want help finding a place to stay.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bargaining Update #7-- November 19, 2008

Librarian Bargaining Update for November 19, 2008
By Mike Rotkin, Chief Negotiator for Unit 17

On Wednesday, November 19, at the UCOP office in Oakland, the UC-AFT and the University Administration completed the second day of resumed bargaining. On the table are economic issues including salaries, the level of Professional Development Funds (PDF) available to Librarians on the campuses, child care support and tuition waivers. Our focus at the first two meetings has been on salaries and the economic context that affects the discussion over salaries. On the table currently is the UC-AFT’s proposal to bring UC Librarian salaries up to comparability with those at CSU.

The discussion remains cordial, but there has not yet been any significant movement at the table. Most of the time has been spent with the UC-AFT team presenting information that sets the context for bargaining. We have presented graphs, tables, and charts that demonstrate how far UC Librarian salaries lag behind the market and specifically behind Librarian salaries at CSU, most community colleges, and California public libraries. All of the members of the UC-AFT team have also shared information that we have been collecting about the negative impacts of low Librarian salaries on recruitment and retention in the UC Libraries. We have consistently argued that the negative impacts of low salaries is not just felt by the Librarians and their families, but that low salaries are negatively impacting the quality of services being provided by UC libraries to faculty, students, staff, and the general public.

On November 19, Karen Sawislak, UC-AFT Executive Director and Negotiating Team member, presented compelling information that UC has more than enough funds to meet the salary proposal for Librarians presented by the UC-AFT. Using former fact-finding reports issued with respect to other unions in 2005 and 2008 and more current information about the large pool of unrestricted financial assets held by UC, ED Sawislak made a compelling argument that the issue is “not the ability of the UC Administration to fund Librarian proposal, but how they prioritize those needs against other University goals. She also presented an impressive list of groups for whom the University appears to have found funding even after the recent financial “meltdown” in the world market – again reinforcing the point that the issue is not whether UC has money, but how they choose to spend it.

Generally, the response from the University Administration team has been supportive but totally non-committal. A number of times at the table, their chief Negotiator Myron Okada has said that they realize that Librarian salaries lag behind the market and that they would pass on the arguments and information that our team has presented to them to the University officials who provide the Administration team with their parameters for bargaining. It would, however, be misleading to suggest that they have encouraged us to expect a significant salary offer from them in the near future.

We will return to the table for further bargaining on December 10 and we are expecting to see a counter proposal from the University Administration at that time.

Meanwhile, the Negotiating Team appreciates the educational work and actions that increasing numbers of Librarians have been taking on several campuses. We continue to believe that our success at the bargaining table is directly related to the level of activism expressed by the Librarians for whom we are bargaining on each of the UC campuses.

If you have questions about Librarian bargaining, you can contact any member of our Negotiating Team:

Harrison Decker, UCB --
Ken Firestein, UCD --
Mitchell Brown, UCI --
Lise Snyder, UCLA --
Steve Mitchell, UCR --
Chimene Tucker, UCSB --
Kenneth Lyons, UCSC --
Dan Suchy, UCSD --
Karen Sawislak, UC-AFT --
Mike Rotkin, UC-AFT --
Miki Goral, UC-AFT --

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