University of California President Janet Napolitano announced on Monday, the university has imposed a system-wide freeze on its non-unionized employees' salaries because of huge losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Specifically, Napolitano said in a statement sent to staff and faculty system-wide, the university is "taking a 10-percent pay cut, as are the 10 chancellors of the system." In addition, the president also said 

Also according to her, her office initiated dialogues with leaders of the union in order for them to understand how serious the financial situation is.

"I know," she explained, that during this already-difficult time, "some of this news is unsettling." She added that the ongoing uncertainties, not to mention, the current realities, need them to act so they can adjust to the present conditions.

More than $1 Billion Losses

Now with over 290,000 students, UC is among the largest public school systems of the country. With the ongoing global health crisis, it has estimated financial losses of almost $1.2 billion from the middle of March until April.

Such losses, according to Napolitano, are projected to rise in the coming months. In relation to this, last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the revision in the 2020-2021 state budget which comprises a 10-percent reduction in funding for the university, amounting to $372 million.

To deal with such deficits, the university's president and the 10 chancellors of the system all agreed to a freeze on the non-union staff's or the "policy-covered staff employees'" salaries, for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Along with the pay freeze, Napolitano said, is the 10-percent cut to their respective salaries for the same period.

UC's Governing Board to Focus on Budget Issues

Napolitano's office did not specify immediately, the exact number of employees who would be impacted by the pay freeze. 

However, the university said on its website that around 14 unions represent over 79,000 workers and the total number of employees for the university is 199,000.

Napolitano and the governing board of UC have their bi-monthly meeting from Tuesday until Thursday. This is when they expect to concentrate on budget issues, as well as the guidelines to be used by the UC campuses when they reopen to students.

The university has not made it clear yet if the courses will continue this fall in classrooms or online because of pandemic-related concerns.

"We are a strong organization," said Napolitano and added, they will work over time to deal with the deficits "and recover."

The Budget Cut

Several days ago, reports came out saying, Gov. Newsom's newly-revised proposed 2020-2021 budget would deal California's public universities and colleges twice a blow-first was the withdrawal of promises of considerably higher support from the state, and second, rather cutting financial support by around 10 percent from the present levels.

The governor repeatedly stated that the effect of the proposed cuts to the CA community colleges, the California State University and the University of California systems, based on the reports, could be lessened, or even removed if the federal governments provide sufficient additional funds to the state through the law which the Congressional Democrats now propose.

More so, as the proposed revised budget indicated unless the federal support takes place, "the 10-campus UC system," as well CU's 23-campus system are possible to encounter challenging choices in the months ahead, about probable increases in tuition fees, cuts in salaries and reductions in academic courses and services not seen over a decade ago during the Great Recession. 

Check these out!