UC and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) discussed retirement benefits and other issues Nov. 8-9, 2012 at UC Santa Cruz during contract negotiations for service employees.

Bargaining session highlights:

AFSCME shared members’ concerns about wages and benefits. The university wants to reassure employees that UC values its staff and provides a compensation package that rewards them for their hard work and dedication. UC is committed to efficient negotiations resulting in a multi-year agreement that is fair to staff and the university.

AFSCME rejected UC’s plan for new retiree healthcare eligibility rules, pension contribution rates and a new tier for employees hired on or after July 1, 2013. The union wants to keep retirement benefits at their current level, which includes an employee contribution rate of 5 percent to the UC Retirement Plan.

UC has proposed that current employees contribute 6.5 percent to the UCRP starting July 1, 2013 and new employees hired on or after that date pay 7 percent for a new tier of benefits. UC would contribute 12 percent for all employees. 

The contribution rates are the result of nearly two years of extensive study and consultation with many different groups. These rates, along with other measures that have been adopted, will protect the long-term viability of the retirement programs and ensure that employees have a stable retirement.

Even with these changes, UC's retirement benefits remain competitive with other employers.

All employees — represented and non-represented — are in the same pension plan, and the university is asking the union to join its colleagues in contributing at the same rates. These pension rates already apply to the general UC employee population. Several unions also have agreed to these benefits. 

UC presented proposals on employee vacation leave, sick leave and curtailment of operations such as winter closure.
Bargaining is scheduled to continue Nov. 28-29, 2012 at UC San Diego.