November 23, 2020
Dear Members of Our Campus Community,
As the winter holiday season is fast approaching, we want to take a moment to once again share our gratitude for our dedicated staff and faculty colleagues. We are so appreciative of your committed efforts on behalf of our university during this challenging time, and we want to communicate to you our campus plans for winter break.
Last month, President Drake launched a consultation process to explore a systemwide program for curtailing campus operations with the goal of preserving jobs and avoiding as much as possible any COVID-related layoffs. We want to thank all of our campus colleagues who shared their thoughts and feedback regarding the proposed curtailment program during the consultative process.
Today, President Drake has shared an update based on his consultation with the UC community. I have appended his announcement to this message.
The President has requested that each campus establish a pandemic relief fund to minimize, to the extent possible, pandemic-related layoffs and protect those in our campus community who are most vulnerable. In addition, the Office of the President has established a curtailment process that campuses could use to generate salary savings, which would be deposited in the relief fund.
As our campus identifies strategies to achieve our funding goal for the pandemic relief fund, we have reviewed the many budget-saving strategies we have already implemented since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April of 2020, our campus implemented a hiring pause that remains in effect, and we implemented a Temporary Work Opportunity Program to allow our staff colleagues to shift from their regular duties to open, essential positions. This achieved a dual purpose of reducing the number of new hires for vacant positions, while ensuring our current staff members are employed and helping our campus operate. Because of these and other measures, we have and will continue to achieve savings throughout the year. These savings will allow us to meet the UC guidelines for our campus’s pandemic relief fund without implementing the curtailment program during our annual holiday closure in December.
This year, our official campus holidays are Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25, 2020; and Thursday, December 31, 2020, and Friday, January 1, 2021. As has been our practice in years past, our campus will observe our annual holiday closure on December 28, 29, and 30, and employees will be able to use their accumulated vacation leave to cover those days. Human Resources will be communicating more details on our winter break plans within the coming days.
We are thankful to President Drake for his leadership during this difficult time. Our campus will continue to work with the Office of the President and our sister campuses as we address our budgetary challenges. We will also continue to consult with the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy, which is meeting biweekly, and our campus colleagues to develop the most appropriate solutions for our campus. Through our collaborative efforts and shared sacrifices, we will continue to uphold the academic excellence and diversity of our university.
Thank you for weathering the uncertainties of the past year with such patience and strength. We send our best wishes to you and your loved ones for a pleasant holiday season.
Henry T. Yang
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