By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
August 18, 2011

The University of California on Wednesday announced a merit increase plan for non-unionized employees that seeks to fend off faculty hiring raids while mollifying critics of high executive salaries during the state’s budget crisis.

Under the plan, all faculty with good performance reviews will receive 3% raises this year, and nonacademic staff, who have received no increases since 2007, could be in line for larger raises.

About 78,000 UC employees will be eligible under the plan, officials said. But nearly 400 employees — senior administrators and non-teaching staffers who earn more than $200,000 a year — will not be included.

In a letter released Wednesday, UC President Mark G. Yudof said he took the action out of concern over UC’s ability to recruit and retain faculty, “who increasingly are being courted by competing institutions.”

UC San Diego recently was rocked by the loss of three top scientists hired away by Rice University, a private institution in Texas, and UC administrators fear a further exodus of talent.

Yudof also noted that many non-teaching employees are working longer hours since the budget-related layoffs of co-workers, and said they also face higher costs than before for pension and health plans.

“Fairness dictates that we take this step,” he wrote, noting that most faculty and non-unionized staff took one-year pay cuts in the 2009-10 school year. Two-thirds of those staff members earn less than $80,000 a year, officials said. (Although some UC union contracts are under negotiation, many unionized workers received modest raises in recent years.)

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