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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 April 05, 2010

UPTE-CWA’s 9,000 researchers and techs have ratified a new contract that includes pay raises of up to 14.5%, as a combination of cost-of-living and step increases, along with important contract improvements on health and safety and other matters.  UPTE-represented employees will make small contributions to the UC retirement fund at the same time UC reinitiates its own contributions.

Pay cuts, layoffs, and the worst California recession in decades hasn’t stopped UC from committing hundreds of millions of dollars to new construction. With three residence halls already under construction, groundbreaking will begin next year on an $85 million Science and Engineering Building at UC Merced. UC San Diego announced its own plans to build a $664 million specialty hospital in La Jolla.

Meanwhile, Gov. Schwarzenegger wants UC to take over health care for California’s prisons by especially relying on “telemedicine.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that UC Berkeley is trying to cover its ballooning costs for a new sports facility using an unorthodox financing plan that relies on bond and gift money invested in the stock market. One faculty member is quoted as saying that UC is “taking sub-prime lending to new heights.”

The Los Angeles Times revealed that UCLA is financing the renovation of an athletic facility by quietly using $25 million in student fees. The plan for Pauley Pavilion, writes the Times, “made without wide student knowledge or public oversight, show that administrators have put aggressive business plans ahead of the teaching mission.”

Monday Memo readers may remember the 2007 article, “Parsky's Party,” which detailed how UC regent Gerald Parsky dismantled the long-standing and very successful in-house management of UC’s pension funds and transferred their control to a number of external, private investment firms. According to the New York Times, UC isn’t alone. The nation’s 10 largest public employee pension funds – including CalPERS -- have paid more than $17 billion to private equity firms since 2000, which promised 20 and 30 percent returns but in fact delivered far less.

Responding to the first recommendations of the Gould Commission on the Future of the University, AFT’s Bob Samuels called for an Alternative Commission on the Future of the University.

UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff has taken state attorney general Jerry Brown to task for personally writing the title and summary for the California Democracy Act, a ballot initiative that would restore a majority vote for revenue and budget in the legislature. Lakoff is a chief proponent of the initiative. According to him, the unfavorable language turned overwhelming support into overwhelming opposition
in polls.
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The Monday Memo is edited collectively by a group of UC administrative professionals who are working for union representation with UPTE-CWA. We publish most Mondays, unless it is a university holiday, or we just need a mental health day off. We welcome your submissions, either credited or anonymous, at mondaymemo@upte-cwa.org.

Please feel free to forward this memo to your colleagues. Anyone may subscribe to the Monday Memo.

If you are a UC administrative professional and haven’t asked your coworkers to sign a commitment card for the union, please do so today. All administrative professionals are also welcome to become members of UPTE, with all the associated rights and benefits.
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