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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Statement from head of the UC-AFT

By Bob Samuels
President, UC-AFT (American Federation of Teachers)

While President Yudof has argued for a salary reduction plan that is progressive and equitable, if we actually look at the numbers, we find the opposite is true. Using the recent salary database compiled by Jeffrey Bergamini (available at: http://ucpay.globl.org/), we find that the most well-compensated employees will face the lowest reductions because Yudof has decided to move off of his initial plan to base the salary reductions on total compensation, and instead, only base pay will be "taxed." This change has tremendous effects; for instance, in 2008, 8 people made over 1 million dollars for the year, and their collective base pay was 1.7 million, while their gross pay was 13 million. If they were really taxed 10% of their total pay, the university would save 1.3 million, but because only their base pay will be reduced, the university only saves $170,000. So if you are Jeff Tedford, you will lose only $22,000 instead of $230,000 of your 2.3
million gross pay. The unbelievable unequal distribution of wealth can be understood by the fact that 3,643 employees earn over $200,000 for a total gross pay of over 1 billion dollars. Remember the total payroll for the system is 9 billion for 180,000 people, so 2% of the people make 11% of the total pay. Moreover, the people making over $200,000 have a collective base pay of 640 million, so by taxing them 10%, we only get 64 million, but if we taxed the full pay, we would get 100 million, which is close to 70% of what the university will get by reducing everyone, except the people on external funds and all the other excluded groups. On the topic of which employees are being excluded from the furloughs because they are funded by external grants, I have discovered that some groups of employees funded out of state funds will be excluded. For instance, summer sessions at UCLA have told me that they are not being reduced because they are profit-making. And according to this strange corporate logic, people who make a profit should not be taxed. In fact, I was told that because my department, the UCLA Writing Programs, "only" teaches undergraduate students and has no external revenue, we will be cut the heaviest. We need to get a list of everyone who is excluded from the furlough program, and what types of profits and compensation they generate. The more I look at this whole plan, it looks like the poorest employees are subsidizing the wealthiest.

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