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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 August 01, 2011

In the wake of drastic fee hikes and dramatic executive bonuses, California’s state auditor has released a 91-page report after over a year of investigating UC’s financial operations. It calls for more transparency in UC’s accounting practices, complaining that UC’s financials lump together about $1 billion a year in unspecified spending, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The state auditor’s report also found that four campuses with high numbers of students of color receive less per-capita funding than some other campuses. For instance, the “UC budget allocated $19,529 to each UCLA student and $55,186 to each UC San Francisco student, but only $12,309 to each UCSB student,” writes the Santa Barbara Independent. The UC-AFT’s Bob Samuels examined the per-student funding disparities found by the auditor, as well as what he calls the “battle being fought between the wealthier and the poorer campuses.” The audit was requested last year by state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), with the support of UC’s unions.

While the negotiations over the debt ceiling have dominated national news, a similar standoff over funding for the Federal Aviation Administration has actually led to its shutdown for more than a week and furloughs for tens of thousands of FAA workers. House Republicans inserted language in the FAA appropriations bill that would affect union elections in the airline and railroad industries by counting workers who don’t vote as “nos” instead of abstentions. UPTE’s national union, CWA, is currently organizing airline flight attendants.
union makes us strong In what is being seen as a key victory for the labor movement, workers at an Ikea factory in Virginia have voted overwhelmingly for union representation. Among the problems employees face are low wages and eliminated raises, long working hours, discrimination and mandatory overtime. Swedish-based Ikea is the world’s second-largest retailer behind WalMart, and is the world’s largest home-furnishing retailer.

A new study published in the American Sociological Review argues that the decline in the percentage of workers belonging to unions is making income inequality worse and hurting the US middle-class. Harvard professor Bruce Western, who co-authored the study, said it “underscores the role of unions as an equalizing force in the labor market.”
UC has suddenly decided to change the policy regarding layoffs of administrative professionals and other non-union-represented employees. The university issued this proposed revision that virtually decimates existing seniority protections and makes “performance” one of the elements a manager must consider when making layoff decisions. As we all know, however, “performance” is highly subjective. The truth is, some APs haven’t received written performance evaluations in years, a fact UC acknowledges in its new Q&A on the policy.  

The 90,000 UC employees who are represented by unions, including UPTE, have strong protections against layoffs being carried out arbitrarily, without negotiation, or at the whim of management. It’s time we APs had the same protections and representation. Without it, you’ll see more pronouncements from UC like this one, which give you the usual 30 days to comment before the changes become a done deal.
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The Monday Memo is edited collectively by a group of UC administrative professionals who are working for union representation with UPTE-CWA. We publish most Mondays, unless it is a university holiday, or we just need a mental health day off. We welcome your submissions, either credited or anonymous, at mondaymemo@upte-cwa.org. Please feel free to forward this memo to your colleagues. Anyone may subscribe to the Monday Memo.

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