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UC-AFT Files Unfair Labor Practice Over UC's Missed Employer Contributions to Supplemental 401k


For immediate release

September 18, 2020

University Council - American Federation of Teachers

Contact: Bill Quirk (UC-AFT Exec Director) - (805) 689-0645


UC-AFT Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge against the University of California over Missed Employer Contributions to Retirement Accounts for Teaching Faculty and Librarians

The University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the University of California over years of missed employer contributions to teaching faculty and librarian retirement accounts. Compounding the problem for 213 affected UC-AFT members, the University’s inadequate correction failed to account for years of market gains, potentially depriving employees of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most of the affected UC-AFT members are lecturers: contingent and precarious teaching faculty whom the UC hires on short-term, part-time contracts. The median annual UC lecturer salary in 2019 was $19,067. The UC Office of the President admits to having withheld a total of 2,140 employer contributions to the workers’ defined contribution plans for a total of $652,029.93.

The University administration claims it failed to make the contributions because of a coding mistake in its centralized payroll system, UCPath. UC-AFT asserts that, after discovering the error, the UC unlawfully failed to bargain with the union over how to correct it. UCPath, originally budgeted at $156 million, has actually cost the University around $500 million so far to implement.

Among the affected UC-AFT members is UCLA teaching faculty member Sophia Cheng who stated that, “For context, earlier in the academic year [2019-2020], I received a similar email stating that I had been underpaid and would get the correct pay in my next paycheck. It’s troubling that I experienced these problems twice in one academic year. It makes me wonder how many payroll problems have gone unnoticed.”

The University of California Retirement Program (UCRP) provides a supplemental benefit for eligible academic appointees and contributes 5% of an employee’s income to that employee’s 401k-style defined-contribution account. This supplement is known as the 5% Defined Contribution Retirement Supplement (DCRS) and is available to eligible represented librarians and teaching faculty members.


UC-AFT Vice-President for Organizing Daniel Schoorl, in public comment to the UC Retirement System Advisory Board in a June meeting, stated that, “Correcting this error is a process that requires close attention to each individual's DCP account and investments. The lack of transparency around how this error is being corrected is a major concern for our union and our members.”

The University Council-American Federation of Teachers represents 7,000 librarians and non-tenure-track teaching faculty working throughout the University of California system. UC-AFT members hold academic appointments as lecturers, supervisors of teacher education, field work coordinators, and librarians. For more information about UC-AFT, go to