November 23, 2020
UC’s Commitment to Preserving Jobs
Last month, President Drake opened a consultation process regarding options to address the financial impact of COVID-19. After a 30-day comment period, the president’s office developed a plan that was presented to the UC Regents last week. Our thanks to those who took the time to offer feedback to the Office of the President.
President Drake’s announcement of the plan, titled the “Jobs Protection Program,” follows this message. As you can see, the Program is based on three guiding principles: 1) protect jobs; 2) higher-compensated employees should carry a higher burden of any salary actions; and 3) decisions about which actions to take should be made locally, within common parameters.
The program will be funded by individual campuses and units, which were assigned a savings target for the 2021 fiscal year. UCI’s savings target is $12 million. Targets for the other campuses and units ranged from $400,000 to $30 million, with an expected system-wide savings of $132.6 million.
I’m pleased to report that, due to proactive financial programs already in place, UCI is on track to achieve the targeted $12 million without any furloughs or layoffs, beyond the seasonal employment fluctuations that normally occur.
As I shared with you earlier, UCI’s sound fiscal management allowed us to navigate the early months of the pandemic, but additional belt-tightening was needed for fiscal year 2021. We collectively found ways to prepare for the months ahead by streamlining budgets and scrutinizing new positions. Specialized workgroups are focused on finding other budgetary savings that will benefit us for the long-term. As a result of these proactive and collaborative actions, UCI should be able to meet the goals of this program by staying on its current course.
I want to thank all of you, throughout the UCI enterprise, for stepping up and finding ways to mitigate the long-term effects of this pandemic. Working together, we are doing what it takes to ensure a brilliant future.
Chancellor Howard Gillman
A message from President Drake about UC’s commitment to preserving jobs during the pandemic
Last month, I announced the launch of a consultation process with the UC community to explore the idea of a systemwide program to preserve jobs and avoid COVID-related layoffs to every extent possible, and to help us address the more than $2 billion budget deficit UC faces due to the pandemic. This would supplement our many other efforts to deal with our financial challenges, and I write you today to update you on our plans.
We appreciate the thoughtful feedback which underscored the complex financial challenges facing the University, with impacts varying by location and even within each campus. Therefore, locations will be allowed to employ a mix of measures depending on what options best meet that location’s financial and operational needs.
While local measures will vary by location, all actions will be guided by our shared priorities:
- Protecting jobs and avoiding pandemic-related layoffs as much as possible;
- Supporting the health and well-being of employees and their families, including their long-term financial security, particularly for those in lower-paid positions;
- If salary actions are taken, in the spirit of equity and fairness, higher-compensated employees should carry a larger burden to protect employees with lower earnings.
Each location will establish a pandemic relief fund, to be used to minimize, to the extent possible, pandemic-related layoffs. One of the key goals of this approach will be to preserve lower-paid jobs that otherwise may not have sufficient funding. And, we will meet any applicable obligations under our collective bargaining agreements concerning actions involving union-represented colleagues.
Each location will be responsible for communicating the details of its plan to its respective community.
In closing, I want to express my deep appreciation for our dedicated and resilient staff and faculty, who continue to work selflessly during these most challenging times to take care of the people we serve. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of our collective work and contributions to California’s response to the pandemic – from transforming the way we educate students to providing life-saving patient care and advancing groundbreaking research. Thank you for your tireless service.
Despite the serious challenges we face, I am grateful to be part of this extraordinary community of people, and I remain optimistic for what we can continue to accomplish together.
Please continue to take care of yourself and loved ones.
Michael V. Drake, MD
President, University of California