California Academy of Sciences contemplates layoffs due to financial shortfall

The Cal Academy is facing a significant budget deficit and has announced plans to reduce labor costs by $4 million in order to close the gap. With the fiscal year ending soon, the institution is under pressure to find solutions that will address the deficit.

The 350-member CalAcademy Workers United union, formed last year and still negotiating its first contract, has called on trustees to reject any budget that includes involuntary layoffs. The union argues that executive pay has been on the rise and new non-public-facing positions have been added, so it is unfair to ask staff to bear the burden of cost-cutting measures when top leadership continues to receive substantial compensation.

In fact, public tax records reveal high executive salaries at the academy, with bonuses reaching substantial amounts. Executive Director Scott Sampson received a $145,000 bonus on top of his already generous annual salary and housing allowance. The union points out that executive compensation has doubled as a percentage of the labor budget since 2007.

The union believes that cutting executive pay would not make a significant impact on overall budget savings. They argue that it is not fair for staff members who are struggling to make ends meet to bear the brunt of cost-cutting measures while executives continue to receive substantial compensation.

As tensions escalate between workers and management over potential job losses, some experts predict a difficult future for the institution if it cannot come up with a solution that addresses both financial concerns and worker demands for fairness and transparency in decision-making processes.

By Riley Johnson

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