Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of January 07, 2013

The state appeals court has ruled in favor of four retired UC employees at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who are suing UC for switching their health insurance to a private plan in 2008. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the retirees presented “evidence that the university had promised them lifetime health coverage and can try to prove that the shift to a lesser plan was a breach of contract.”

The plaintiffs retired from Livermore before UC’s 2007 transfer of lab management to a private/public partnership. UC then terminated the retirees’ health insurance, promising that they would receive equivalent coverage from the new manager. But the court agreed with the retirees that the new plan is inferior and more expensive. While not a class-action suit, the plaintiffs say they hope the case may lead to reinstatement of all Livermore retirees’ UC health coverage.

UC Berkeley’s plan to move all non-salaried workers to an electronic timekeeping system has been put on hold due to “bumps along the way.” UC has “concluded that the campus is not ready for CalTime to be rolled out in January for non-exempt employees,” which also means that Berkeley will delay moving those workers from a monthly to bi-weekly paychecks. The transition has generated widespread discussion – much of it critical due to the possible negative affects for employees who live from paycheck to paycheck.

At the beginning of a new year, we often make plans for self-improvement. "Wellness programs" in the workplace sound like a good thing – and many have the potential to provide a true benefit. But Labor Notes points out that there are both carrot-and stick-approaches. And sometimes the carrot can turn into the stick. Union contracts can safeguard employees' right to privacy, as well as ensure that employees are not punished for situations that are often out of their control.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has published its 2013 ranking of the best values in public universitie, and five UC campuses made the grade: Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Irvine, and San Diego. UCB was the second most expensive school on the list, but is the most competitive because of its low admittance rate of 22%.

Photo: NUHW

The California Nurses Association, an 85,000-member union that represents UC nurses, has announced it is affiliating with the 10,000-member National Health Care Workers Union (NUHW), one of the fastest growing unions in the nation. The unions say they’re teaming up to better organize in hospitals and health care workplaces, like the giant Kaiser system.

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