Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of October 15, 2012

This November, California voters will be faced with two ballot measures, Propositions 30 and 38, affecting the state’s system of public education. The Los Angeles Times’s “Capitol Journal” offers a pointed endorsement of Proposition 30, noting that it will spare the state from automatic (“trigger”) budget cuts – including $250 million to the UC system -- whereas Prop. 38 will not. The Los Angeles Daily News provides a comparison of the two propositions.

Yes on 30! No on 32!

Former President Bill Clinton rallied thousands of UC Davis students and staff on the quad last week, encouraging them to vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 32, according to the Sacramento Bee. While it claims to be about “stopping special interests,” Prop 32 isn’t what it seems, and actually gives special exemptions to corporate special interests and Super PACs.

In a scathing expose, the Mercury News has detailed the “Who’s Who of the Rich and Powerful Behind
Prop 32.” The article points out that all the wealthy corporate special interests that are funneling millions into this so-called “stop special interest money” measure would conveniently be exempt from the measure if it passes. 

California’s online voter registration system has been a big hit, according to the Vacaville Reporter. More than 400,000 Californians have registered in the first three weeks. Republicans may be less thrilled at the news, as samples have shown that nearly a third of the new registrants were under 26 and were two-and-a-half times more likely to have registered Democrat. To register, go to the California Secretary of State’s web page. The deadline to register for the November election is October 22.

California governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have given over 14,000 UC graduate student research assistants the same rights that other UC employees have under state labor law. The measure was written by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), and had passed both houses of the state Legislature. Graduate student and union leader Charlie Eaton writes in the Daily Californian: “Brown stated, ‘given the current stresses facing the state and its universities, now is not the time’ to give research assistants full rights. But two of the most severe ‘stresses’ facing the university are the use of tuition hikes and the use of state funding for excessive UC executive compensation — practices that research assistants could better help to check if we had full rights.”

UC Merced officials report that the university has contributed more than $815 million to the San Joaquin Valley’s economy since 2000 and about $1.54 billion to the state. UCM has about 1,100 staff on payroll, which totaled $531 million as of August.

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health have launched a Workers’ Comp Hub to provide basic information for injured and ill workers in all 50 states to help navigate the complex workers’ compensation system; provide resources and tools for advocacy and action; as well as a platform for sharing strategies and solutions. Workers, policymakers, academics and others will be invited to share strategies to meet the needs of injured and ill workers. To share resources, and tools as well as suggest events and actions, send email to info@workerscomphub.org.
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