Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of September 10, 2012

The Orange County Register analyzed annual salary figures recently released by UC and found that salaries climbed by 29% between 2006 and 2011. Five hundred and seventy-five UC jobs paid more than $400,000 in gross pay, and 4,889 paid more than $200,000, though the article draws a distinction between gross and base pay. The Register also reports that UC intends to reduce the portion of employee medical costs it covers from 83 percent to 70 percent. You can probably guess where that missing 13 percent will come from – employees’ pockets.
 
UC faculty leaders have voted against privatizing the funding of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
 
The UC regents will consider a settlement offer this week in a lawsuit filed by students gassed in the notorious pepper spray incident last November.
 
Science Careers reports that the Los Angeles Superior Court heard a plea of “not guilty” UCLA from Chemistry professor Patrick Harran last week, who is facing up to 4 ½ years in prison on felony charges of violating California occupational health and safety laws that resulted in the death of lab worker Sheri Sangji. The judge has scheduled a hearing on October 9 to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial. Harran faces up to 4 1/2 years imprisonment if convicted. The UC Regents were also charged in the case, but in July reached a settlement in which they accepted responsibility for the conditions which lead to the fire that caused Sangji’s death, and pledged extensive corrective actions. 
 
When considering Proposition 32, on the California ballot this November, it’s worth remembering the famous adage of Anatole France: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." Prop. 32 forbids unions and corporations alike from using payroll deduction to collect contributions for political activity. Sounds fair – until you realize that corporations don’t use payroll deduction to make political contributions, and outlawing union spending would leave the field free to unlimited corporate dominance. In the words of Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, it’s a fraud to end all frauds, and that’s exactly why the San Jose Mercury and Ventura County Star have joined other newspapers to urge voters to reject Proposition 32.
 
“Union Maid,” move over. Check out this superb video from Cablevision workers in Brooklyn, who won union representation by CWA earlier this year.
 
And a big organizing victory this week as restaurant workers in New York -- who were fired and locked out of their restaurant for organizing a union – occupied the restaurant and opened their own café, the Worker Justice Café. After one week, the company conceded, rehired all the workers, and recognized the union.
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