The United Campus Workers of Georgia has called for the University of Georgia to protect university employees as the University System of Georgia cuts 14% of its budget due to the coronavirus, UCWGA announced in a press release Monday.
USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley instructed all 26 university system institutions to submit plans to reduce their budgets by May 20, according to an email sent to USG faculty and staff on May 1.
UCWGA is asking UGA to commit to a plan protecting “vulnerable workers” at UGA, such as maintenance workers and technicians. The union asks for the plan to include no layoffs or program and department closures. Wrigley noted in his May 1 email that the university system’s plan may include layoffs or furloughs.
UCWGA asks that the UGA plan halt increases to student fees and inhibits a reduction in graduate worker stipends.
UCWGA also advises UGA to implement a progressive pay cut where higher-paid employees have a larger salary reduction. UCWGA said UGA should not impose furloughs, salary freezes or pay cuts for workers with salaries under $40,000 a year.
In the letter, UCWGA writes that these effects of these cuts could be compounded by economic challenges from closures caused by COVID-19.
“Our community cannot afford to compound the economic challenges we face by harming our social fabric,” UCWGA said. “As Chancellor Wrigley noted, UGA needs to be among the state leaders helping Georgians recover.”