Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of May 06, 2013

UC’s 13,000 patient care technical workers, represented by AFSCME 3299, have voted by a 97% margin to authorize a strike. The vote comes after nearly a year of negotiations, during which AFSCME’s elected bargaining team says UC refused to make “significant movement” on fair pay, retirement or staffing issues. A neutral fact-finder had previously agreed with the union’s position. UPTE-CWA’s 12,000 health care professionals, techs and researchers are facing similar intransigence from UC bargainers, as are the system’s nursing staff, represented by the California Nurses Association.

On May 1 -- International Workers’ Day -- UCLA students gathered to protest the university’s actions towards its staff. The Daily Bruin reports that the students marched to Murphy Hall, where they occupied the second floor hallway outside the chancellor’s office and read a letter opposing UC’s proposals for a two-tier pension plan and other regressive measures.        
respect and fair contract now
Photo by Lisa Kermish
After the university's Council of Chancellors voted last week to allow campuses to withdraw from the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP), Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced the campus is jumping SHIP as of fall and returning to its earlier campus-specific plan. Riverside, Davis, Santa Barbara, and Irvine are expected to follow. SHIP had accumulated a $57.4 million debt since 2010, and students had protested the system's lifetime cap on coverage and annual pharmacy cap. The chancellors also agreed "to eliminate the lifetime coverage limit and other caps [such as pharmacy] on essential health benefits in the student health insurance program."

Philosophy faculty at San Jose State University are refusing to teach an online course, according the Chronicle of Higher Education, saying they don’t want to “enable what they see as a push to ‘replace professors, dismantle departments, and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.’” The course was developed by edX, a nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and which UC Berkeley recently joined as well, to promote MOOCs, or “massive open online courses.” Educators at Amherst College have also rejected the model, according to the Washington Post. _____________________________________________________________________________

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 Please feel free to forward this memo to your colleagues.

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