Despite recently proposed state funding cuts and pandemic related economic uncertainties going into the fall 2020 semester, researchers believe that the University of California will not need to pursue the kind of austerity measures that would necessitate near term staffing cuts or tuition hikes.
The research findings come from an exhaustive review of the University’s extensive financial holdings, and were scheduled to be presented via statewide zoom teleconference on May 19, just hours before the UC Board of Regents began their own deliberations on the economic fallout from COVID-19.
“As the third largest employer in the world’s fifth largest economy, and a lifeline of opportunity for the vulnerable populations that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19 already, what happens at UC over the next few months will have far reaching consequences,” said AFSCME 3299 Research Director Claudia Preparata. “While the University of California’s finances are notoriously opaque, our research finds that UC is remarkably well-positioned to not only withstand the near term fiscal disruption associated with COVID-19 and lead California’s recovery, but to avoid austerity measures that would devastate low-income students and tens of thousands of essential frontline workers.”
In presenting the research findings on Tuesday, Preparata was to be joined by a coalition of employee union leaders from across the University of California, including the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), UC-AFT, Teamsters Local 2010, UAW Local 5810, SEIU Committee of Interns and Residents, UPTE-CWA Local 9119, and the California Nurses Association.
“This is an extraordinarily challenging time for the UC community, California and our nation,” coalition members said in a statement. “Even as we all continue the work of advocating for additional state and federal support for COVID-19 related impacts on this vital institution, the data makes clear that the University has both the responsibility and capability to lead our recovery.”
Across its 10 campuses, five Medical Centers, and numerous research laboratories and other facilities, the University of California employs 227,000 workers and serves 285,000 students each year. At least two UC staff members are known to have died from COVID-19.
AFSCME Local 3299 is the University of California’s largest employee union, representing more than 26,000 Service and Patient Care Technical workers at UC’s 10 campuses, five medical centers, numerous clinics, research laboratories, and UC Hastings College of Law. It also represents skilled craft workers at UC Santa Cruz, which includes carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC Technicians, Painters, Fire Alarm Technicians, and EMS Technicians.