Patt Morrison for January 3, 2011

When unions are giving back salary & benefits, UC executives threaten to sue to keep theirs

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David McNew/Getty Images

As the UC system works toward eliminating $21.6 billion in unfunded pension obligations the Regents are looking to keep the executives’ retirement packages a reasonable rate—36 of those executives wrote a letter in December threatening a “legal confrontation” if the Regents did not fulfill their promise.

Back in 1999 the Regents of the University of California agreed to calculate retirement benefits for some of the highest paid executives in the UC system as a percentage of their entire salaries instead of the federally instituted limit of $245,000—it’s a complicated formula but what it accomplishes is fairly simple. At least 200 UC executives will be able to retire with very generous benefits packages at the same time that hundreds of thousands of rank-and-file UC workers, from janitors to cafeteria employees, are being asked to renegotiate their own union contracts to give back salary and pension plans. As the UC system works toward eliminating $21.6 billion in unfunded pension obligations the Regents are looking to keep the executives’ retirement packages a reasonable rate—36 of those executives wrote a letter in December threatening a “legal confrontation” if the Regents did not fulfill their promise. Should these executives, which includes the dean of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school and the UC chief investment officer, be forced to renegotiate their retirement deal like the rest of UC employees?

Guest:

Nanette Asimov, reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle who broke the story about UC executives retirement packages.


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