US: California university furloughs hit 140,000 staff

A University of California regents panel approved an emergency plan last Wednesday for most faculty and staff to take 11 to 26 unpaid furlough days next academic year to offset deep cuts in state funding, reports Larry Gordon for the Los Angeles Times. But the furlough proposal, which was endorsed despite protests by labour unions, would be only part of a broad retrenchment across the 10-campus university system, officials said.

Administrators spoke of faculty hiring freezes, fewer course offerings, larger class sizes, reduced library hours and programme eliminations. As many as 140,000 of the University of California's 180,000 full-time and part-time employees could be affected by the furloughs; about half of those are represented by unions that would have to agree to the cuts.

Some unions said they planned to resist unless university leaders look into tapping other potential revenue sources, such as endowment funds, to maintain salaries, and agree to cut executives' pay more significantly. More than 100 labour demonstrators picketed outside the meeting at a San Francisco facility, and some later briefly interrupted the session with chanting. A similar rally was held at the University of California in Los Angeles.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site