Past Activities of the SCFA

In 1991-92, merit increases to faculty coming up for merit increases during that year were arbitrarily denied by the Administration as a cost-saving tactic. At a time when the Statewide Academic Senate was supine and the administration showed no intention of ever paying the merit increases, the SCFA–through CUCFA–filed a complaint against the university administration before the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) on the grounds that the university failed to consult either the SCFA or the Council with respect to the university’s denial of merit pay for the period January 1-June 30, 1992.

All the lawyer’s fees in the PERB complaint, and they were considerable, were paid exclusively by the SCFA. Much of the research for the PERB suit was conducted by CUCFA’s Executive Director in consultation with members of the SCFA board. Although the SCFA’s suit was not itself successful (the court found against the SCFA on a technicality in late 1993), that action contributed substantially to the success of the later suit that did succeed both in recovering the merit increases for that year and in establishing the illegality of the Administration’s ever taking any similar action of arbitrary denial of salary increases in the future.

* The SCFA’s lawyer for the PERB hearing had engaged in detailed discovery and was able to help the lawyers in the later suit that was successful.

* The argument advanced in the successful suit had its origins in discussions between the SCFA and the Council.

* The further argument that was successful in reducing the lawyers’ fees from 25% to 19.5% was devised by a member of the SCFA.

Some years ago, upon the death of a local faculty member, the Association became aware that the rules for benefits for widows and surviving children of faculty had been altered without any consultation. The Association negotiated the restoration of the original system of benefits.

When the university administration unilaterally eliminated a favored health plan from the range of opportunities available to all UCSC employees, the SCFA protested the grievance through legal channels, employing its own lawyer and secured a new, acceptable, and cheaper plan for the campus; the administration paid the association $6000 in penalties, which the association distributed to all Senate faculty affected by the change in the campus policy.

During 1995, the SCFA was extremely active over the issue of the university administration’s revision of the APM regulations concerning outside employment of faculty, a document that claimed the right to regulate all outside employment, including activities conducted during weekends and holidays. CUCFA sent a lengthy analysis of the manifest deficiencies of the document to the administration and to the Academic Council of the Senate, and set a date for a formal consultation in August if our concerns were not addressed. In the end the administration accepted a redrafting of the regulations by the Academic Council which responded to the concerns of the CUCFA’s letter, and the formal consultation did not have to take place.

For several years, legal actions by the SCFA delayed the implementation of parking fee increases for senate faculty members, and in pursuing that matter, the SCFA has established important precedents that should help us hold the administration more responsible for its use of parking revenues in the future.

In winter 2014, deeply concerned about the effects of UC-systemwide and campus budget cuts since 2008, the Santa Cruz Faculty Association sponsored a program of Small Grants for Creative Response to the Crisis in Education. One of the awards was granted to conduct a Budget Cut Impact Survey to assess and evaluate the particular impacts of those cuts on faculty teaching and morale at UCSC.  This report contains the results of that survey. These results seem particularly timely given current discussions about budget cuts we may be facing again in the near future, and the impacts those would likely have.  [Read more..]

Following two years of negotiations with the UCSC administration, in 2015, we reached an agreement regarding on-line course contracts. The first is the Online Course Hosting and Services Agreement between Coursera and the University, the second a Pilot UCSC Online Education Course Agreement for Coursera Courses to be used between the University and future Course Creators. The agreements will be revisited at the end of two years to gauge their effectiveness and decide whether any changes in the contracts are needed. [Read More]

In 2016 we concluded our bargaining with the university over revenues for online course offerings.  Under the current agreement, 40% of any revenues above course development costs will go to the faculty developer, a figure double the university’s original position.  We will continue to closely monitor online course policy.  The significant elements of the agreement are the general principle that the faculty member retains authority over the course and the frequency of its offering, along with the 40% return to faculty course developer.  The SCFA also has the right to review the means by which costs for course development are calculated.  We will also revisit the agreement after two years to gauge its effectiveness and to judge whether changes are needed.  With this in mind, please give us your feedback if you are involved in teaching on-line or if you have views on course compensation policy.Highlights of the agreement can be found by clicking HERE  and the full text of the agreement can be found HERE.

In December 2016, the university proposed  a cap on Summer Session salaries for UCSC faculty, and a change in compensation for courses with fewer than 5 units.  These changes were proposed to begin effective Summer 2017.  We asked for and received considerable feedback from our membership about these proposed changes.  In our discussions with the university, we persuaded the administration not to implement any changes for 2017 and we are in the process of bargaining with regard to future summer sessions. [READ MORE]

CUCFA – Past and Current Activities

Through our affiliation with the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA) we are able to participate in broader movements to educate the public about the value of public higher education and the threats it faces today.  For a list of their accomplishments, please visit the CUCFA website at  The following is a superficial listing of their accomplishments which have benefitted the UCSC community. 

2017 – Forced UC to withdraw a proposal to remove the 70% floor on employer retiree health contributions.

2017 – Won major press coverage of our effort to have the Governor follow the state Constitution when nominating Regents.

2017 – Launched the $48 Fix campaign to Reclaim California’s Public Higher Education systems

2016 – Promulgated a set of principles for choosing new University of California Chancellors

2016 – Strongly opposed the 2016 Tier Pension Plan

2015 – Successfully opposed a plan to limit UC healthcare options

2015 – Opposed State Constitutional Amendment 1, which would have stripped UC of its constitutional authority

2014 – Successfully opposed a tuition hike

2014 – Formed a partnership with the American Association of University Professors

2013 – Successfully opposed cuts to central funding of campus healthcare facilitators.

2013 – Opposed cuts to central funding of campus healthcare facilitators.

2013 – was a vital part of the opposition to SB 520, Senator Steinberg’s bill that could have at one point required UC to purchase MOOCs through private companies, and challenged UC’s MOOC contract, which asked faculty to sign over all intellectual property rights to their lectures when MOOC providers did not require this.

2012 – Helped prevent the state’s pension reform law from superseding UC’s own recent pension reforms.

2011 – Successfully opposed the unconstitutional appointment of David Crane as a UC Regent.

2011 – After years of effort at increasing faculty input into UC Retirement System changes, and greater transparency in the UCRS decision making process, the UCRS Advisory Committee began publishing meeting agendas and minutes. Many thanks to John Oakley for his efforts toward this.

2010 – FA leaders spoke at the March 4th rally in defense of public education funding on the steps of the state capitol.

2009 – CUCFA President Bob Meister produced a well received series of articles, presentations and interviews about UC’s use of student fees as collateral for construction bonds.

2009 – Completely overhauled the Keep California’s Promise website, with an ever growing database of hundreds of relevant news clippings, a reader’s comments system, tools to encourage activism (including legislative district maps, lists of local contacts, and a calendar of upcoming events) and new research papers and essays by Stanton A. Glantz, Bob Meister, George Lakoff, Nelson Lichtenstein, Richard Evans, and others.

2009 – Successfully agitated for more representatives from UC’s teaching faculty on the new Commission for the Future of UC.

2009 – Opposed UCOP’s declaration of financial emergency and imposition of furloughs on a variety of grounds, including that the language of “emergency” is a bad way to think about a decade of financial decline and that the fall back reliance on “inherent powers” to authorize the furloughs diminished the process in which the UC community participated in good faith.

2009 – Successfully opposed legislation that would have damaged UC autonomy, and the protection such autonomy provides faculty’s academic freedom from political interference.

2008 – Opposed a plan (which UCOP later dropped) to outsource UCRP’s benefits administration.

2008 – CUCFA officers spent a day personally delivering our newly drafted position paper “Restoring the Promise”, a faculty perspective on the higher education budget to the state capitol. And followed up a month later by participating in the massive march and rally protesting proposed cuts to state funding of higher education.

2007 – Participated in the passage of legislation by state Senator Yee (SCR 52) which would allow faculty a voice in UC Retirement System governance.

2006 – Supported legislation requiring greater transparency in executive compensation while successfully opposing legislation with punishments for recently discovered excesses in UC executive compensation that ranged from the revocation of UC’s Constitutional autonomy, to the loss of UC’s state funding.

2006 – Hand delivered the UCPB Report on The Future of the University of California, with our own cover letter, to members of the California Senate and Assembly sitting on education budget committees.

2005 – Successfully opposed a legislative proposal (ACA5) to eliminate all defined benefit retirement programs for new public employees in California

2005 – Successfully defeated legislation (AB 992) that would have allowed UC police to engage in electronic recording of conversations without a person’s consent and without a warrant.

2004 – Public outreach website Keep California’s Promise is launched by CUCFA affiliated faculty, later CUCFA became operator of the site.

2003 – Successfully opposed bills mandating higher teaching loads by educating legislators about how teaching loads are set and what they mean in terms of actual work performed by faculty.

2002 – Asked UC to agree that parking lost to construction should be replaced out of the construction budget, not out of higher parking fees.

2000 – We got a law passed that clarified that professors, not the University, own their lectures.

1998-99 – Our lobbying efforts helped to obtain a $10 million augmentation in the state budget in support of library print collections systemwide, plus an augmentation for the replacement of obsolete instructional equipment.

1997-98 – We supported domestic partner benefits in letters to the Regents and formally opposed a legislative measure that would have prevented both UC and CSU from providing them.

1997 – Our newsletter covered the subject of changes in the policies concerning “buybacks” of lost UCRP service credit providing general information to guide faculty through this difficult and complex subject.

1996 – Killed a bill which would have precluded faculty from assigning their own textbooks.

1994-95 – The FAs met with the Administration in Oakland to discuss restructuring UC Care into a point of service plan. We monitored every step in the revision, making sure that Oakland took into consideration faculty interests in such matters as out-of-area coverage.

1994 – The FAs published a major article in our Newsletters, “VERIP III: How Much is it Worth?” We provided a financial framework to help faculty evaluate their options.

1994 – We published an article about lump sum cashouts–pros and cons.

1994 – Worked to prevent the state from taking an extra share of University overhead funds.

1993-94 – The FAs filed an unfair labor practice charge against the University in an effort to compel payment of the merit increases for the second half of the 1991-92 fiscal year. We supported other faculty groups who were also trying to force the University to pay these postponed merit increases. A class action suit was finally successful. FA faculty members testified at the hearing to determine lawyers’ fees in the class action suit against the University. On the basis of that testimony, the judge lowered the lawyers’ fees. In October of 1994 we published a newsletter article outlining for faculty who had received merit increases the issues involved in whether they should stay in the successful class action suit against the University or opt out.

1993 – Published a newsletter that brought to the attention of the faculty the future erosion of health benefits.

1990 – Raised funds in a campaign to support Proposition 111, a constitutional amendment to solve serious problems plaguing state fiscal policy. Prop 111 changed the formula that set the Gann Spending Limit, passed by voters in 1989 as Prop 4. Inflation, which reflects a national trend in the cost of living, would be replaced by the percentage of growth in California personal income, which more accurately reflects the economic conditions of the state. Unless the formula was changed, the state would have had to cut its level of support for higher education, health, transportation, and other essential programs in the face of tremendously increasing population and demand for these services.

1988-89 – The FA lobbyist blocked a proposal by the state Legislative Analyst to withhold additional funding from the UC benefits package.

1987-88 – The FA lobbyist argued successfully before the legislature that faculty should receive a 5.7% salary increase instead of 3.0%. The FA lobbyist’s efforts to get the full 5.7% were called “outstanding” by the UC Administration.

1987 – Campaign against S.B. 1332 (McCorquodale) This bill would have resulted in the imposition of significant payroll and administrative costs on employees who directed their contributions to any plan or third party broker of their choice. In a letter to the California Senate, the Governor cited the Council of UC FAs’ opposition to this bill. The Council was opposed because it came too late–UC already had a highly satisfactory program for employee choice.

1986-87 – The FAs were active in persuading UC to offer expanded dental coverage.

1986-87 – The FA lobbyist urged that the Univ. of Wisconsin, which paid much lower salaries than the other seven comparison universities, be replaced as a comparable institution to UC in determining parity wage increases.

1986 – UC Faculty Associations collected over $396,000 for the campaign against Prop. 61, which would have imposed a constitutional limitation on the combined salaries and benefits of all state employees including UC faculty of $64,000. Prop 61 was defeated. The FAs were able to perform this service, whereas the University was not, because we are an independent nonprofit organization that receives no state funds. Even if Prop 61 had been blocked without FA support, the failure to make this defensive effort would have left a very strong impression in the minds of the legislature. The faculty would have been seen as unwilling to make any kind of contribution to defend its interests and therefore the Council would have had less credibility in future negotiations over faculty salaries.

1986 – All regular faculty were made eligible for employer-paid life insurance as a result of FA efforts. Formerly, the maximum coverage for an eligible employee was $5,000; now it was increased to the amount of an employee’s annual salary up to a maximum of $50,000.

1986 – We lobbied for two short term nonindustrial disability insurance plans. Formerly, only Plan A existed. The FAs argued that a second plan B be created, and that faculty automatically be placed in this plan instead of Plan A which was not suited to faculty needs.

1986 – We urged the elimination of remarriage restrictions; in the past, UCRS pre-retirement survivor benefits had been payable to an eligible surviving spouse only if the spouse were unmarried. Now surviving spouses can remarry and still receive benefits.

1986 – The FAs urged UCRS to calculate attained age on the date of retirement in complete months. Until this time, age at the preceding birthday was used.

1986 – The FAs hired professionals to assemble a booklet of information about UCRS and Social Security, to help faculty decide whether they should coordinate their benefits with Social Security or not.

1986 – We lobbied for a one-time ad hoc COLA to restore UCRS members who retired between 1962 and 1976 to 75% of their purchasing power as measured by the cumulative Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the time of their retirement; increases ranged from 2.47% to 14.37%.

1985-86 – Our lobbyist argued successfully before the legislature that faculty should receive an 8.8% range increase instead of 6.7%.

1985-86 – We urged UC to unbundle the present voluntary, employee-paid-for life insurance from the disability insurance. It duplicated and overlapped with the disability provisions under other University programs.

1985 – The FAs successfully persuaded the University to offer faculty additional investment options through an outside manager of a family of funds; Fidelity and Calvert were added to the possible investment selections.

1985 – We asked the Administration to clarify with table and charts whether or not employees should “buy back” UCRS service credit when they go on leave or take sabbatical.

1984 – The FAs urged a 3% reduction in UCRS employee contributions: they were reduced by 1%.

1981 – The FAs lobbied for an employer sponsored dental plan, and the Regents approved dental plans for UC employees. The FA was then active in informing faculty about the dental coverage options open to faculty.

1980 – The FAs began urging parity at UC with PERS (Public Employees Retirement System).

1980 – The threat of collective bargaining by faculty pressured the UC Administration to offer a “cafeteria” of benefits, both in terms of health care and investment opportunities over a period of years.

1979 – Successfully lobbied to override the Governor’s veto of a 14.5% salary increase.

1978-79 the FAs argued before the state Supreme Court to contest the salary freeze which resulted from Prop 13; the result — faculty were awarded a lump sum equal to 5 1/4% of their 1978-79 academic year salaries.

1978 – HEERA, Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act, AKA the Berman Act, passed. CUCFA founded and first Chaired by David Feller, Labor Professor at UCB.