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For the Week of October 25, 2010
Breaking pension news from the Academic Senate: UC President Mark Yudof will recommend that the regents adopt a modified version of “option C” for the pension plan. Option C is seen by some as the “lesser of evils,” and has “a consistent 2.5 percent age factor for all employees, an employer contribution
of 8.1 percent of covered compensation, and an employee contribution of 7.0 percent.”
Options A, B and C were scenarios considered by UC’s Post-Employment Benefits Committee. Staff and faculty members of the committee had jointly written a strong dissenting opinion recommending Option C as the best of a bad lot. The dissenting opinion noted that Option A would reduce the UCRP benefit of an employee retiring at age 60 with a salary of $55,000 by 56.8%, while Option B would reduce it by 42.2%. (For more background, see the August 30 Monday Memo.)
Option C is less drastic, but as the Berkeley Faculty Association has noted, it is still a risky two-tier plan and doesn’t include any shared governance of the pension plan.
The Coalition of UC Unions, as well as the Academic Senate leadership, have been pressuring Yudof over the pension proposals, and today’s news shows that the pressure is producing some movement.
But the fight isn’t over. Yudof’s recommendation will be presented at the November regents’ meeting, and changes to unionized employees pension benefits and contributions must be collectively bargained.
A blog discussing "alternative pension politics" notes that "AFT, AFSCME, UPTE, and CNA in consultation with the Council of UC Faculty Associations have endorsed a set of principles to guide pension reform, which have also been endorsed by the Executive Board of the UCLA Faculty Association. Other groups have also argued for different options than those proposed by the UC Office of the President."
Many UC employees currently on Health Net will see their premiums increase in January by more than $100/month unless they change to the new Blue and Gold plan, which UPTE’s Benefits Advisor notes doesn’t include as many physicians or hospitals. Highly-paid UC employees aren’t being hit with as big a percentage increase as lower-paid employees. UPTE’s tech and researchers have the right to bargain over the change in premiums. The union is collecting stories about how these changes affect UC employees, and has also launched a letter-writing campaign to protest the increases.
While UC is talking about increasing reliance on transfers from community colleges as a path to UC, a study released last week showed that 70% of community college students seeking degrees did not transfer to a four-year college or earn a degree.
Monday Memo readers know that the Sacramento Bee hosts a website listing salaries for state workers, including UC employees, as part of a transparency-in-government effort. A Berkeley and Princeton study found that job satisfaction dropped significantly for UC workers who visited the site and discovered that their pay was beneath the median, and they were more likely to look for another job. Management news sources summed up the results in this headline: “Why firms need to stay silent about workers’ salaries.”
Although public workers have been "vilified" during the state's budget negotiations, Berkeley and Rutgers economists find that "public employees do not get the same return for their education level as private sector employees." Apples-to-apples comparisons show that public workers only make about the same amount "after benefits and other compensation are factored in."
The New York Times focused on a UCLA student for an article about undocumented immigrant students and the Dream Act.
In Big Oil Goes Back to College, an analysis of research collaboration between oil companies and universities such as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Stanford shows that cozy relationships with the companies give them too much control in deciding funding and research programs. The San Francisco Chronicle said the universities named disputed the report.
UC's more than 12,000 graduate student instructors represented by United Auto Workers Local 2865 have extended their contract deadline again, after failing to reach a compromise with UC "on issues ranging from wage increases to child care subsidies." During more than four months of negotiations, the union has filed "unfair labor practices" charges against UC for not bargaining in good faith.
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