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To the Regents of the University of California

 

As employees of the University of California, we are writing to express our strong opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan (UCRP)—specifically the creation of a new pension tier which slashes benefits of some highly skilled staff in half, the creation of a cap and a 403 (b) “opt out” scheme that would cut benefits for future employees.

Consistent with UC’s public mission, UC’s current defined benefit pension plan encourages faculty and staff to build careers of service to our students, patients and communities by guaranteeing a secure retirement. This gives UC a competitive advantage in attracting top quality faculty and staff who could receive higher salaries elsewhere.

The new pension tier and opt-out schemes currently under consideration would eliminate this guarantee by cutting benefits for future employees—particularly for faculty, academics and the high skilled health providers at UC campuses, Research laboratories and Medical Centers. They would threaten the financial stability that the defined benefit plan needs to meet its obligations to future retirees by reducing the number of workers paying into the system. And, they would leave many future UC workers at risk of losing their retirement savings to the volatility and uncertainties of the stock market.

We share the Governor’s view that UC must focus more of its resources on delivering academic services, research and top quality medical care—and less on administration. By failing to make this critical distinction, the proposals under consideration by UC’s Pension Task Force will have the opposite effect. This will make UC less competitive in the race for top quality faculty and frontline health clinicians and encourage more staff turnover at a time when 60% of UC workers surveyed say they are considering leaving their jobs this academic year.

In short, these proposals would be do irreparable damage to the quality of academic services, patient care and research at the University of California, and that’s why UC’s 2011 pension task force rejected similar proposals.

Please do not undermine UC’s efforts to attract the best and brightest in their fields and erode the valuable continuity and on-site experience that have made our campuses, teaching hospitals and research laboratories among the finest in the world.

Stand with UC’s dedicated, career employees—as well as those we serve—by rejecting proposals to impose benefit cuts and opt-out schemes for UCRP.