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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 September 20, 2010

While employees and students voiced their strong opposition, the UC regents voted at their meeting last week to raise pension contributions from the current 2% to 5% by 2013. Employer contributions will go from 4% to 10% of payroll in the same time.

“We haven’t had the guts in leadership to move on this” before, said one regent. Not content with imposing pay cuts and pension cutbacks (that as this analysis by AFSCME 3299 shows, hit lowest-paid workers the hardest), the regents showed further gutsiness by approving $3.1 million in bonuses for 37 UC hospital executives, including giving UCLA’s hospital director a raise of $410,000, to $1.3 million total earnings. Three obviously gutless regents voted against the raises, including Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who told the Los Angeles Times that they were “unseemly” at a time of cutbacks at UC.

Want to listen to the public comment from UC workers and student supporters, followed by the regents’ response? Check out this multi-part recording of the meeting courtesy of the UCLA Faculty Association.

Meanwhile, better benefits packages only reduce the wage penalty of state and local workers according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "Once age and education are factored in, state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts," the authors write.

UC appears to be violating its own socially responsible investment policy by failing to review shareholder resolutions that are “controversial or relate to social issues.” This conclusion was based on The Bay Citizen's two-year review of public records.

Others are watching how a Minnesota court decides whether the state can use its new formula to reduce pension benefits for workers who have already retired. A ruling in favor of Minnesota could encourage others. Governor Schwarzenegger has said he won't sign a budget until the legislature changes the state's pension formula and increases employee contributions.

While Berkeley proceeds with its multi-million dollar consultant-driven consolidations, a UC faculty member believes making UC more like a business will hurt innovation and research.


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