Dwaine Duckett, the University of California's vice president for systemwide human resources and programs, issued the following statement today (Sept. 24, 2013) about the status of UC’s negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME):

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The University of California notified AFSCME on Sept. 24 that it is implementing its last offer on total compensation for more than 8,300 service employees.

Since October 2012, UC has bargained in good faith with AFSCME to reach a fair contract. We have offered a competitive compensation package, good working conditions and reasonable pension reform.

From the start, AFSCME leadership has objected to UC's reasonable approach to pension reform — the kind of reform that's absolutely necessary to protect the long-term viability of UC's retirement program so it continues to deliver quality benefits to our employees upon retirement.

On Sept. 3, the state's neutral fact finder sided with UC on the key issue of pension reform and recommended the university's approach. Eight other unions representing 14 distinct units have agreed to these reforms, which also apply to non-unionized faculty and staff. The reforms also are similar to what the state has implemented for other state employees.

We invited AFSCME back to the bargaining table on Sept. 18 to try to resolve differences. However, despite our best efforts, the two sides were not able to reach agreement on a mutually acceptable approach to pension reform.

Having completed all stages of the bargaining process, including state-assisted mediation and fact finding, the university is legally entitled to implement its last proposal. These terms are fair, fiscally responsible, and guarantee our staff quality health care benefits as well as attractive pension and retiree health benefits that few public and private employers nationwide offer.

UC works hard to provide competitive compensation to our workers. Our service staff is paid wages that compare favorably with the public and private sectors, and that lead the market in many cases because of deliberate steps UC has taken to address service workers' pay. For example, the minimum pay for a UC food service worker is 21 percent above CSU and 20 percent above the general market. UC service employees also recently received a 2 percent step increase on July 1, 2013, and up to 5 percent wage increases in each of the past two years.

UC will implement the following changes for its service workers:

  • Medical, dental and vision benefits at current rates with no change. These excellent benefits are the same as for other UC employees.
  • Attractive pension and retiree health benefits, and implementation of UC’s post-employment benefits program which includes:
    • Employees hired before July 1, 2013: UC’s contribution increases from 10 percent now to 12 percent, and employee contributions rise from 5 percent now to 6.5 percent.
    • Employees hired on or after July 1, 2013 will receive a slightly modified tier of pension benefits.
    • Revised eligibility rules for retiree health care.