Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of March 25, 2013

After a surprise announcement earlier this month by Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau that he was giving non-union-represented administrative professionals (APs) an across-the-board 2% pay increase, APs systemwide are circulating petitions asking other chancellors to do the same.  Berkeley staff are signing a “thank you” letter to Birgeneau for his acknowledgement that years of non-existent and inadequate pay raises have left staff woefully underpaid. You can download the campus-specific petitions here. After you and your co-workers have signed, call UPTE for pickup. UC Administrative Professionals Susan Orlofsky and Liz Phillips
Administrative Professionals Susan Orlofsky (UCSD) and Liz Phillips (UCD)
Photo by Lisa Kermish

UC Berkeley professor emeritus Charles Schwartz has published another installment of his investigation into UC’s budget. He finds that at $13,181, the “mandatory fee level” for resident undergraduate students “is nearly twice what it cost the University to provide their education.” Schwartz concludes with an indictment of UC administrators “for their dishonesty,” saying the costing method they use is “false and misleading.”

Last week, California state Senate leaders introduced SB520, which would require the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for online courses offered by private companies. This week, the chair of UC’s Academic Senate said in an open letter that there is “no possibility” that UC would be “ceding authority over courses to any outside agency,” adding “The clear self-interest of for-profit corporations in promoting the privatization of public higher education through this legislation is dismaying.” The Sacramento Bee editorialized in favor of the legislation, however.

Despite efforts by UC spokespersons to dismiss the report as being from a “disgruntled labor union,” the chair of the state Senate Committee on Health said he will investigate allegations of mismanagement at UC hospitals that may have jeopardized the safety of patients. The report by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, A Question of Priorities; Profits, Short Staffing and the Shortchanging of Patient Care at UC Medical Centers, says hazards increased after UC turned its medical centers into independent profit centers. The report is available here.

A new report by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities concludes that states on average last year spent 28 percent less per student than they did in 2008. The report says this has harmed both educational quality and state economies.

Republican legislators in Michigan have continued their war on labor by threatening to cut state funding to colleges and universities that ratify long-term contracts with their unions. Last year the state Republicans pushed through a measure designed to undermine unions by chopping out their funding base. This year, universities that agreed to protect that base – which they can legally do by contract with the unions – are now being told by the Republicans that they will lose 15% of their funding if they don’t rescind those agreements.
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