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For the week of April 12, 2010
Employee email lists were ablaze last week with talk of a new labor organization for UC’s 15,000 clericals, the New Alliance of Clerical Employees-CWA.
A statewide group of rank-and-file clericals invited UPTE’s national union, CWA, to help them organize in response to AFSCME’s campaign to replace the current clerical bargaining representative CUE, and CUE’s subsequent move to affiliate with the Teamsters. AFSCME is expected to submit a showing of employee support to the state’s Public Employment Relations Board shortly, which will likely trigger a union election in the clerical bargaining unit. If NACE-CWA can show sufficient support, it will also be included as a choice on the ballot.
In response to a request from the NACE-CWA organizing committee, UPTE-CWA’s systemwide executive board voted to support their campaign.
Pensions at California’s public-sector institutions have been in the news lately, with a Stanford report commissioned by Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger claiming that the state’s three biggest pension funds (including UC’s) are underfunded to the tune of half a trillion dollars. But critics say the rhetoric is overblown and the calculations are way off.
CalPERS says the Stanford report relied on “outdated data and methodologies.” Currently, the UC retirement fund has $35 billion and paid out $1.5 billion last year, writes UCLA lecturer Bob Samuels, offering the idea that capping executive pensions (such as UC President Mark Yudof’s likely $250,000 a year pay-out) would be a good step if the plan actually does run into major problems.
The governor, who has long campaigned against public employees’ benefits, lost no time in issuing a press release arguing for lowered benefit levels.
A bigger problem may be fees taken by private equity managers, who became more popular with public-sector retirement plans, including UC’s, since 2000.
UC and Cal State University student applicants are being wait-listed for the first time ever, reports the Sacramento Bee. Both systems have had record numbers of applications this year, and admissions officials say they can’t afford to admit them. Meanwhile, the regents approved UC Merced’s 10-year, $1.13 billion capital improvement plan in late March.
Administrators at UCSC are trying to fine student activists for their building protest over fee hikes. As one commentator notes, student protest is a legitimate activity, and fining students can be interpreted as undermining their first amendment rights.
The satirical group, UC Movement for Efficient Privatization, has put together a brilliant parody of Berkeley campus newspaper, the Daily Californian. The story behind the stunt is covered at the Daily Clog.
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.