Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of June 03, 2013

UC administrative professionals (APs) organizing with UPTE have begun handing in petitions signed by thousands of their colleagues to campus chancellors asking for long-overdue pay raises. The petition urges chancellors to follow the example of Berkeley’s Robert Birgeneau, who granted APs a 2% pay increase effective March 1. The petitions read, in part: “The University will now get 5% increases for several years.

APs at UCSC present petition for fair wages to Chancellor Sahni. Photo by Bill Spencer.
With these extra funds coming to UC, we deserve a raise after years of no pay increases.” At UCSD, a delegation of APs met with Chancellor Pradeep Khosla on Thursday to hand in over 250 signatures asking him to do the right thing. “The chancellor was sympathetic to our situation — only one small merit increase in the past five years,” reports Susan Orlofsky, “and said he would share the petition with Yudof.”

Union protesters aren't the only ones calling on UC to chop from the top. UCLA history professor David Myers argues in an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times that it’s time to reduce the size of the Office of the President (UCOP) bureaucracy, which he calls "a labyrinthine bureaucracy that takes money from the 10 campuses where actual teaching and research happen.” Myers writes that UC can become more responsive by becoming a “confederation of connected but autonomous campuses,” and suggests ways for the regents to devolve power and transfer resources back to the campuses.

UC President Mark Yudof, who is leaving his position on August 31, gave an upbeat interview to the Wall Street Journal about the state of UC. “There are labor strikes and unhappiness among students about tuition rising,” he notes. “Now I think it's a profound time of questioning [and] there is almost a consensus that the financial model is broken.”

At a total compensation of almost $850,000, Yudof is the 8th highest paid president in public higher education, according to a recent report by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Do these top executives get their 6- and 7-figure incomes because they’ve earned them? In “At Universities, Too, the Rich Grow Richer,” retired SUNY history professor Lawrence Wittner contends that the bloated incomes of university presidents are the result of their fundraising prowess.

While there has long been concern about the "carrot" of workplace wellness programs becoming a "stick" down the road, new research indicates that wellness programs don't work and don't save money. Employers may be less likely to impose such programs in an attempt to lower health care costs when the federal government releases the findings of a RAND study mandated by the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare"). Not only were the savings of these programs "not statistically significant," but workplace wellness “did not catch warning signs of disease or improve health enough to prevent emergencies." The findings may lead employers to drop plans to subsidize the insurance costs of employees who participate in these programs.

With the US Supreme Court expected to rule soon on affirmative action in higher education, the New York Times analyzed the success and failures of efforts by UC and other public institutions to substitute income diversity for racial diversity in admissions. An article by The Atlantic looks at the differing views of affirmative action by race.

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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