Chancellor pledges $1 million to address workforce issues
Announces new initiatives to ease workload, review compensation

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs



Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl

26 SEPTEMBER 00 | Chancellor Berdahl has announced a pledge of $1 million in campus funds to take what he called "urgent steps" to address staff workforce issues centered on recruitment, retention, compensation, and growing workloads. The steps he outlined include a sweeping list of policy changes and new initiatives aimed at rewarding the work of current staff, attracting new employees to campus, and creating more manageable workload by filling existing job openings and providing more time and resources for training staff.

"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:

o Effective immediately, the campus has eliminated the 15-percent cap on salary increases for reclassifications, which will provide "a more flexible system to help keep our top performers on campus," said Berdahl.

o The cap on raises for lateral transfers also has been abolished, "so that current employees are encouraged to develop new skill sets in other campus positions, and external employees are not given more favorable consideration."

o Following a private-industry trend, campus will provide $500 bonuses to employees for recommending someone who is hired for a career employee position. Up to $500 more would be awarded after the new employee successfully completes the six-month probation period.

o To help fill the campus's almost 700 vacancies, a contract has been signed with an Internet provider to post vacancies more quickly and to search for qualified applicants more proactively. The contract will be managed by Human Resources, but each department will use the recruitment Web site independently.

o Efforts are being made to ease staff transportation woes. For example, emergency-parking passes will be available to those working on weekends during football games. Campus administrators are also negotiating with public transportation officials to subsidize riding BART or AC Transit at a higher rate.

o More than $100,000 in new money was set aside in this year's budget to increase the number and variety of classes offered for staff development and training. And to make it easier for busy staff to take advantage of these opportunities, the chancellor suggested creating of a pool of temporary employees who could cover for staff while they are in training.

"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

"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.


Read entire speech


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail