The following is a letter sent to Colleagues by the UCSB Faculty Association calling for opposition to the proposed new pension tier.
We are gratified by the strong response at the Town Hall of the faculty, resisting the unsound pension that UC is proposing to offer new hires starting July 1. Over 1,000 faculty have signed the petition opposing the new tier proposals. We are resending this message to give you an opportunity to join your colleagues by signing the petition if you have not done so. The deadline for making known your opinions regarding these changes is February 16.
Allow us to share with you our reasons for objecting to the current proposal:
1) We share the task force chair's bleak account of the "negative effects of the PEPRA cap on retention and timely retirement" (A guide to reviewing the recommendations of the Retirement Options Task Force, p. 7). In other words, the future of the institution is at stake.
2) We take issue with the fact that while the acceptance of the PEPRA cap is presented as UC's side of the deal with the governor and the legislature, the latter's part of the deal has not been fulfilled:
a) UCRP has NOT been acknowledged as a permanent state obligation;
b) the State's promise "of $436 M for the UCRP over the next three years" to help finance the Unfunded Accrued Actuarial Liability (p.4 of the Task Force report) is a misrepresentation. As Michael Meranze has underlined, the Legislature actually has "not engaged in any multi-year promise". In addition, of the $10.7B or 12B UAAL (numbers depending on market-value or actuarial-value), the hypothetical sum of $436 is only a very small percentage, not accomplishing much. In sum, we object to completing our side of a (bad) deal, when there is no actual commitment on the other side.
3) We take issue with the top-down way this complex issue has been handled. The Task Force had to begin from a declared reality that no one in the UC system other than President Napolitano had a hand in ratifying. This is not shared governance. In addition, the fact that the recommendations of the Task Force, whatever their merit, can be taken or left by President Napolitano further erodes whatever good faith and intellectual effort went into these proposals.
4) We are not convinced by the Task Force's arguments that introducing a Defined Contribution option is fiscally advantageous. No credible empirical evidence exists in the report or in recent economic history to support the assertion. Moreover, the proposed options, in their concern for portability, favor short-term employees over long-term employees, further undermining faculty loyalty to the institution or a commitment to public service.
5) We object to the ramifications of adding a new tier to retirement benefits that creates financial divides between those hired before 2016 and those hired thereafter. Even more, we see these changes as part of a broader national trend to eviscerate tenure and full-time employment. Having to acknowledge such systematic differentials to new hires reduces not only our ability to recruit young faculty but also our pride in doing so as well as our willingness to encourage our students to become university professors.
For more information on this issue, please visit our website at ucsbfa.org.
We urge you to sign the petition to express your opposition to proposed changes to the UC Retirement Plan.
UCOP has also set up a comment link where you can provide your feedback on the task force recommendations. We urge you to express your concerns about the plan there. If you do, please also send a copy of your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
The Board of the Santa Barbara Faculty Association