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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Regents approve budget for merit pool

President Mark Yudof of University of California (UC) approved a systemwide, one-year merit program for faculty members and non-union, or non-represented, staff with annual salaries below $200,000 on Aug. 17.

The program will use a pool of money for the 2011-12 fiscal year approved by the Board of Regents since last November.

Non-union members will receive retroactive pay raises, as though the raises began July 1. All raises will be effective starting Oct. 1.

“About 18 percent ($26 million) of the money budgeted for all salary merit increases is coming from state general funds and roughly one-fifth is coming from other core funds, which include student fee revenue ($22.5 million) and other UC general funds ($7.5 million),” said UC spokesperson Dianne Klein, in an e-mail. “Sixty percent of the money ($84 million) is coming from other funds, including medical center revenues and contract and grant funds.”

In a letter to the UC chancellors, President Yudof explained the purposes and benefits of the merit program.

“One purpose of this pool is to give you a tool in your efforts to recruit and, most importantly, retain leading faculty members, who increasingly are being courted by competing institutions,” he wrote.

The letter also stated non-union staff members have not received a merit raise in four years, despite “working longer hours as a result of budget-induced layoffs of their coworkers” and are thus, deserving of this raise.

“Balancing fairness against fiscal pressures, [President Yudof] concluded that the staff merit pool should be for those non-represented staff who are not at the high end of our compensation range,” Klein said.

Klein said the merit pool is based on performance evaluations. She said the total budget for merit increases is 3 percent of base salaries for eligible filled positions.

Employees that joined the UC this year or have had promotional salary increases since Jan. 1 will not be eligible for merit raises. Union employees are excluded from this program as well for a number of reasons.

“Most of our colleagues who are represented by unions, by virtue of existing, negotiated contracts, have received regular pay increases throughout this long-running fiscal crisis,” Yudof stated in his letter. “Because of the new benefit reforms, all non-represented employees will see their take-home pay diminish as their contributions to health and pension plans ramp up.”

According to Klein, even with the merit increases for this year, the covered employees’ salaries significantly lag behind cost-of-living increases since 2007.

“More than half of the non-represented staff employees projected to be eligible for merit raises make less than $70,000 a year,” she said. “More than two-thirds have annual salaries of less than $80,000.”

The approximate cost of non-union staff merit raises is $83 million and will be based on performance evaluations completed this fall. The approximate cost of faculty merit raises is $57 million and will be based on the most recent performance evaluation since they are evaluated every three years.

In contrast, on Aug. 16, Sen. Ted Lieu (D- Los Angeles County) proposed a bill that would prohibit an increase in compensation for a president of a California State University (CSU) campus if a tuition increase has taken effect in the past two years or will take effect in that current year.

The CSU system is under the direct authority of the legislature while the UC system is not. Instead, the UC system is written into the Constitution.

The bill is an implicit response to the controversial San Diego State University (SDSU)’s new president’s $400,000 salary.

“What happened here was a change from predecessor to the person who was recruited to fill the position,” said CSU Media Relations Spokesperson Erik Fallis. “This was a person who was selected by the committee of the Board of Trustees as the best qualified for this position and we offered a salary that we believed would bring that person to SDSU.”

Fallis said SDSU is a large research institution that has almost as much research as a good number of UC campuses.

“We want to make sure we have the best in there,” he said. “A pay was offered to the candidate to bring this person to California to be the president of SDSU.”

The bill has since been referred to the Rules Committee for further action.

CLAIRE TAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


  1. I love University of California (UC) having been a student and lecturer. But today I am concerned that at times I do not recognize the UC I love. Like so many Alumni, Donors, Legislators, and Californians I am deeply disappointed by the pervasive failures of UC senior management and regents.

    Californians suffers from 19% unemployment (includes those working part time, and those no longer searching), mortgage defaults, loss of unemployment benefits. And those who still have jobs are working longer for less. Chancellor/Faculty wages must reflect California’s ability to pay, not what others are paid.

    UC Berkeley (Cal) planned pay raises for generously paid Faculty is arrogance. UC Berkeley (ranked # 70 Forbes) tuition increases exceed national average rate of increase. Chancellor Birgeneau’s leadership molded Cal into the most expensive public university in the USA.

    Can we do better with a spirit of shared sacrifices by Faculty, Provosts, and Chancellors?

    (17,000 earn more than $100,000)

    No furloughs.

    18 percent decrease UCOP salaries, $50 million budget cut.

    18 percent prune chancellors’ salaries.

    15 percent trim tenured faculty salaries, increase teaching.

    10 percent non-tenured faculty pay decrease, increase research, teaching.

    100% elimination of Academic Senate, Academic Council budgets.

    There is no question the necessary realignments with reality will be painful.

    UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing can bridge the public trust gap with reassurances salaries reflect depressed California wages. With UC’s shared financial sacrifices, the sky above UC will not fall.

    Yours is the voice that can make the difference, email UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu


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