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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 May 17, 2010

“UC Execs Get Extra Payment During Budget Crisis,” reports San Diego’s KGTV after examining UC's compensation records. UC execs, says the report, are still getting their six-figure salaries, and the "relocation allowance" is “particularly generous,” and not always used for moving expenses. At UCSD, for example, Vice Chancellor Henrietta “Penny” Rue received a relocation allowance of $53,750, plus an additional $27,893 in “actual moving costs.”

An op-ed piece in the May 10 Daily California points out that UC’s budget gap is only half of the amount UC pays executives earning more than $200,000 a year. 3,650 UC employees, or an average of 365 per campus, earn more than 96 percent of all Californians.

Things aren’t so rosey among rank-and-file employees. A 20-year comparison of public- and private-sector employee earnings shows that public employees earn “an average of 11 and 12 percent less, respectively, than comparable private sector workers,” and the wage gap has widened over the past 20 years.
Longtime Sacramento reporter Ed Mendel wonders whether a state pension cut is a push toward privatization. The Office of the Legislative Analyst “says legislation and the courts have created firm state funding obligations for CalPERS and CalSTRS, but not for the UC plan.” 

Hunger strikers protesting the recent Arizona legislation on immigration called off a 10-day strike after UC Berkeley officials agreed to meet with them. The strikers were also demanding that the university drop charges against students arrested in last fall’s fee protests and that laid-off janitors be rehired.

A coalition of student and worker activists at Berkeley picketed graduation activities as part of a planned “speakers’ boycott.”

Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) wrote to UC president Mark Yudof to say he was "thoroughly disappointed" at the university’s lack of progress in negotiating with post-doctoral researchers represented by the United Auto Workers. The letter follows an April 30 congressional hearing.

Good news for UC lecturers represented by the UC-AFT: after collective actions and negotiations with management, almost all of the layoff notices for the continuing appointment lecturers at the UCLA College have been rescinded.

UPTE-CWA at Davis also got some layoffs, which were just announced recently, rescinded, through a combination of workplace solidarity, legislative pressure and the threat of media exposure.

The Coalition of University Employees counted the votes in its Teamsters affiliation election this weekend, and announced a majority favored affiliation. However, two groups of CUE members, one of which is aligned with the New Alliance of Clerical Employees-CWA, have filed suit alleging widespread election irregularities.

UCLA lecturer Bob Samuels argues in the Huffington Post that UC helped create the global fiscal meltdown, citing work by Berkeley professors Ashok Bardhan and Richard Walker.

The Berkeley Faculty Association gives “lowlights” of preliminary recommendations of the UC Commission on the Future (AKA the Gould Commission), and states that the recommendations, “viewed in combination with [law school] Dean Edley's current plan for a ‘cyber campus,’ threaten the quality of UC undergraduate education.”

Steve Peace, a UCSD graduate and former state director of finance, says he can’t “join in the cheerleading” for a new law school at UCSD. “California’s prized university system is under significant stress.” For UCSD, he writes, to add a law school to “its already long list of priorities makes no sense.” _____________________________________________________________________________________

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