AP Voices: Administrative professionals organizing for change
April 26, 2012
UC professional staff exodus threatened
Cuts to the University of California aren’t only impacting students—financial troubles also are driving what could become a major exodus of skilled professional staff in the coming years.

University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) recently conducted an online survey that shows that among a non-scientific sample of more than 1,200 administrative professionals:

  • 83 percent agree that “students are suffering as a result of understaffing”
  • 74 percent agree that “the University’s core missions are at risk”
  • 80 percent agree that “the University is losing many of its best people due to lagging wages and benefits”

In addition, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they have thought seriously about leaving UC for other work, and 58 percent have actively looked for other work within the last three years.

Survey respondents, who include members of the professional staff stationed at UC campuses around the state, said they remain proud of the University and committed to its mission. But excessive workloads and lagging compensation make it difficult to picture a long-term future at UC, many said.

“I just want my work to be valued,” said one respondent. “Taking side jobs with a master's degree is unreasonable... but very real for many of us here at UC.”

“I’m worried about my retirement benefits being chiseled away at,” wrote another. “I’m worried about continued increases in the amount I pay for retirement and health insurances causing my net pay to go down, down, down.”

“As my family grows older I will not be able to afford to keep this job,” another commenter noted, “because [pay] increases are nonexistent and there is absolutely no opportunity to make more.”

See additional comments volunteered by survey respondents here.

The administrative professionals who answered the survey include student advisors, tutors, library professionals, computer programmers, project and financial analysts, accountants, research project managers, writers, editors and others.

“Clearly, if UC wants to keep these staff members, something has to change,” said Keith Pavlik, a senior publications coordinator at UCSF. “Union representation will help us improve pay and protect benefits – and by working together, we can also fight for stable funding to preserve the University and its missions.”

Many professional employees have signed cards asking to be represented by UPTE, the union that already represents 12,000 professional and technical employees throughout the
UC system.

If you haven’t yet signed an authorization card saying that you support UPTE for administrative professional employees, now is the time.

UPTE supporters at UC Berkeley
UPTE supporters at UC Berkeley
If you want more information, please visit UPTE’s website or contact us. Check us out on Facebook!
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