Union leaders said today that University of California employees have overwhelmingly demonstrated they have no confidence in UC President Mark Yudof, but a university spokesman said the vote is merely a publicity stunt.
In a vote which was carried out on all UC campuses between Aug. 26 and Wednesday, 96 percent of participants said they have no confidence in Yudof, according to union leaders.
The vote was organized by a coalition that represents more than 60,000 employees on campuses, medical and research facilities throughout the UC system.
About 10,000 of those employees participated in the vote, according to Jelger Kalmijn, a staff research assistant at the University of California at San Diego who is president of the University Professional and Technical Employees union.
Voters included faculty, custodians, nurses, lab technicians and clerical workers.
Kalmijn said Yudof’s budgetary plan calls for eliminating some classes, laying off workers and increasing class sizes.
Kalmijn admitted that the UC system is going through a difficult time because of cutbacks in state funding, but he alleged that Yudof “is taking advantage of the crisis to try to change the nature of the university.”
He said, “The university is becoming more profit-oriented and less oriented toward public service.”
But Peter King, a spokesman for Yudof, said Yudof is merely trying to balance the university system’s budget so it can continue to be “the world’s greatest public university research system.”
King said the coalition that conducted the vote only represents about a third of the university’s 180,000 employees and alleged that its members are trying to avoid furloughs that other employees have agreed to accept in an effort to minimize layoffs.
He alleged that the vote is “a diversionary antic aimed at diverting attention from the bigger issue, which is that they don’t want to accept furloughs in any way, shape or form.”
King said the furlough program endorsed by Yudof calls for highly paid employees such as Yudof to take pay cuts of 10 percent and lower-paid employees to take pay cuts of 4 percent. Middle-level employees are to take pay cuts in the middle of that range, he said.
King said “everyone is paying the price” while the university tries to cope with its financial difficulties.
He said there have been about 800 layoffs in the university system so far but there will have to be more layoffs if all the unions don’t agree to furloughs.