Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of June 10, 2013

State legislators will audit the revenue and staffing levels at two UC medical centers, UCLA and UCSF, according to UC Berkeley’s student paper, the Daily Cal.

Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), writing to the audit committee, said that he is concerned that UCLA, “the second most profitable hospital in Los Angeles, donates only 1.3% of its revenues to charity care, a level far below the average of 5.4%." Gray said that "UCLA is generating substantial revenue in excess of its costs, we need to understand where those revenues go,” as well as the number of med center employees who are paid over $200,000.

Legislators were tipped off to problems at the UC hospitals by a union whistleblower report earlier this year. Thousands of UC workers represented by AFSCME walked out in a two-day strike last month over the same issues, and UPTE members joined them on the picket lines in solidarity. 

A question of priorities
Five workers illegally laid off from Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been awarded $2.7 million. In 2008, a total of 440 employees were laid off after the lab was taken over by a consortium of UC and Bechtel. More than 100 workers subsequently filed suit after they were laid off for what they allege was age discrimination. A court broke up the plaintiffs into small groups, and this is the first such group to see its case through to judgment. In January, a state appeals court ruled in favor of four employees after UC terminated their health care benefits. In late 2011, the National Labor Relations Board reversed nine layoffs and ordered the lab to bargain with the UPTE-affiliated local there.

A controversial bill in California’s Legislature aims to create partnerships between public universities and private technology companies to provide general education classes online. The East Bay Express reports that opponents of Senate Bill 520 argue “that it will allow for-profit educational companies to gain access to public colleges and universities that they would not otherwise have, and thereby undermine the quality of higher education in California.” UC’s Academic Senate has been critical of the bill.

As this year’s crop of students graduates into an uncertain job market and massive student debt, a joint USC/Los Angeles Times poll found that a majority of Californians believe college tuition is unaffordable but that they favor maintaining educational quality over keeping down costs.

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