| Chancellor pledges $1 million
to address workforce issues
Announces new initiatives to ease workload, review compensation
By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
"I very much understand how urgently we need to make changes," Berdahl said at his annual chat with campus staff Sept. 26. "I truly agree that compensation is not in many cases adequate and that the reason that many people come to work here - for a decent balance between work and the rest of life - is often not a reason any more." (Read entire speech)
Berdahl also announced the formation of a Compensation Advisory Committee, a working group of faculty and staff to make recommendations on how to restructure the entire campus compensation and job evaluation system. Chaired by Calvin Moore, math department chairman, and Martha Fateman, director of IST's central computing services, the committee will make its recommendations to Berdahl by the end of the academic year.
"We will look at the very basis for these structures," said Moore, referring to the campus pay and classification system, which Berdahl said was a labyrinth of hundreds of job titles. "We may find that we need to throw the whole system out and start all over again," Moore added.
"The university and I as its chancellor owe you an apology for not having acted sooner," Berdahl said. "Many of these issues are not new, and we have not moved as quickly as we could have to improve your work environments." The comment drew prolonged applause from a packed auditorium in the Bechtel Engineering Center.
The Chancellor outlined a list of the changes and new programs now being implemented:
"As staff are allowed to develop their skills, they are happier and more fulfilled in their jobs," said Berdahl. "We are a learning organization and if you are here to work, you should also have the opportunity to learn." Berdahl also proposed other ideas for easing staff workloads. Among those: use trained groups of retirees to fill in vacant supervisory positions; increase staff internships in the AAII-AAIII categories to provide training opportunities in specialized skill areas required for those levels; and modify and streamline controls of the Berkeley Financial System so users are able to make independent judgments and decisions.
The chancellor also touched on other issues during his address. Regarding protracted CUE union negotiations, the chancellor said he fully supports raises for clerical employees.
"I know that our salary levels are below market, and that this is absolutely unfair," he said. "In addition to supporting the universitywide proposals for wage increases of over 11 percent, Berkeley has proposals, specific for the Berkeley campus, to extend pay ranges by an additional 10 percent in certain clerical titles where we are experiencing retention and recruitment difficulties."
The chancellor said he is eager to see these negotiations conclude and believes the Berkeley campus is doing everything in its power to reach a settlement. The chancellor said he hopes to "build a new trust between staff and administration" and that he and his vice chancellors are "listening and intend to act now to make this campus a more fulfilling place to work."
Berdahl invited staff to provide feedback and suggestions on these and other topics by e-mailing his office at email@example.com.
"I liked what he had to say," said Lisa Maynard, business officer for media services. "The 15 percent cap on reclass salaries has adversely affected us. Eliminating that will make a huge difference."
"I'm glad the chancellor is talking to us," said the Graduate Division's Natasha Hudson. "Though I'd like to see some more immediate fixes, he's making an effort to improve things."
Chancellor Berdahl's annual chat with staff is sponsored by the Berkeley Staff Assembly.
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