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Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion.
For the Week of August 09, 2010
As UC employees await news from the regents’ “post-employment benefits task force,” which may recommend cuts to retirement programs and retiree health benefits, it may be instructive to read about how other public workers are dealing with the same fight to protect their hard-earned benefits.
This University of Minnesota faculty member is drawing national attention for speaking out eloquently against the effects of budget cuts and privatization on her university.
A New York Times article puts UC budget discussions in context. “There’s a class war coming to the world of government pensions. The haves are retirees who were once state or municipal workers….The have-nots are taxpayers who don’t have generous pensions.” Meanwhile, the financial strain on public school districts is “widening the chasm between the haves and the have-nots,” reports the Contra Costa Times.
UC finally agreed on August 1 to a tentative contract with its post-doctoral researchers. The Postdoctoral Researchers Organize, affiliated with the United Auto Workers, won recognition in 2008. Wages were major obstacle, with UC rejecting PRO-UAW’s proposals for increases modeled on federal guidelines. The impasse led to congressional hearings. PRO-UAW represents 6,000 postdocs, or about 10% of all postdocs nationally. UC’s are the second group of postdoctoral researchers to unionize, following those at the University of Connecticut.
A date has been set for the largest private-sector union election in 60 years. Beginning September 13, 45,000 Kaiser workers will vote on whether to replace their current union, the Service Employees International Union, with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). The NUHW was formed by former SEIU members after a series of purges and a hostile takeover of their local by SEIU last year. The NUHW is seeking volunteers to help organize for the election.
The California Labor Federation is sponsoring a pressure campaign to urge UC president Mark Yudof and the UC regents to stop using Littler Mendelson for legal representation. Littler Mendelson has long been notorious in the labor movement as a union-busting law firm.
Student, worker, and faculty groups at Berkeley have been meeting regularly to continue the struggle to save public education. A Statewide Coordinating Committee has set October 7 as another National Strike & Day of Action for Public Education. Stay tuned here or on Facebook for details.
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