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Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion.

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For the week of January 25, 2010

At their meeting in San Francisco last week, the UC regents approved another $3.1 million in “incentive” pay money to be split between 38 already-highly paid senior managers at the five medical centers. Each exec will receive bonus checks ranging from $30K to $219K.

A variety of other high-powered salary actions are listed in the regents’ compensation committee minutes from last week.

While UC says the money for executives come from non-state medical funds, some analysts do not believe the budgeting is so neat and tidy. The pay increases happen as UC is cutting enrollments and students are finding it difficult to get into classes. In fact, for the first time in UC history, waiting lists will be established for each UC campus. Education is being hit, says UCLA lecturer and union blogger Bob Samuels, in order to feed UC’s executive pay machine.

Critics also object to the highest-paid UC employees getting raises for “promoting efficiency” at a time of layoffs and furloughs. As a Sacramento Bee writer observed, “the people mainly responsible for the efficiencies are the lower-paid line staff and professional staff, many of whom don't make in annual salary what these bonuses call for.”

Researchers and techs at UC are circulating a petition demanding that UC come back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair deal.

The regents now say they’ll support a planned March 4 mobilization against the cuts. The UC Student Association welcomed that development, while other student and staff activists are signing on to a public letter calling UC’s moves a “cynical publicity stunt.” Staff, students, and community members may sign the letter here and add their own comments.

The March 4 action has been endorsed by many unions and student groups, as well as the San Francisco Labor Council.

Two UCD medical school professors argue in the San Jose Mercury News that shared governance, not regental fiat, is needed to rescue UC. 

A UCB faculty member has written a blog critical of Mark Yudof, whose behavior as UC’s president is “seriously amiss,” and “may well have exacerbated an already dire situation.”

The New York Times has put together a summary of articles on cuts to education in California, including a section on UC cuts. There is concern in Washington that a new legislation will lead to privatization for that state’s public higher educational institutions.

An independent journalist is looking into just who benefits from controlling the University of California’s $53 billion in Wall Street investments. Peter Byrne is raising funds to research the story through the community-supported journalism site, Spot.Us. Anyone who wants to support Byrne’s investigation is welcome to read his pitch and contribute.

In the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, union members across the nation are mobilizing to help. You can find out more at the AFL-CIO’s Haitian disaster website. ____________________________________________________________________________________

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