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UCSB skilled trade union agrees to furlough days

By   /   Thursday, October 22nd, 2009  /   Comments Off on UCSB skilled trade union agrees to furlough days

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A union representing skilled-trade workers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has agreed to share the pain of state budget cuts at the school.

Over the next year, about 85 electricians, mechanics, plumbers, locksmiths and other trade workers at UCSB will take the same furlough days as non-union university employees, the school said in a release Oct. 22. The move will help make up for steep cuts in the school’s state funding, the release said.

Approved in July, a systemwide University of California furlough forced all non-union employees to take up to 26 days off and a salary cut of up to 10 percent, hitting the highest-paid employees the hardest.

It aims to save a total of $184 million, a drop in the bucket compared with the $1 billion state legislators cut from the UC system’s funding. The system is trying to make up the rest through spending cuts, debt restructuring and student fee increases.

Non-union employees make up more than 100,000 of the UC system’s 180,000-member workforce, and they started taking furlough days in July. Furlough days or salary cuts for the 70,000 unionized UC employees are being handled as each contract is negotiated.

“We very much appreciate the union’s recognition of the serious financial challenges confronting the university, and its sense of responsibility in sharing in the sacrifice that all members of the UC community are needing to make given the current financial crisis,” Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president for human resources, said in a news release.

Salary increases for members of the union at UCSB — the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501 — will go forward as planned next year, the school said. Base-building increases will apply to the unreduced salary, the university said, and then the increased salary will be reduced by the applicable rate.

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