Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of March 03, 2014

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UC has announced that, at the discretion of President Janet Napolitano, it is giving unrepresented employees a 3% pay increase in July for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. While any raise is most welcome, 3% won’t even cover inflation plus increased pension contributions. Unionized UC workers bargaining collectively have done much better in their negotiations this year, which is why the system’s 15,000 administrative professionals continue to organize for UPTE-CWA representation. APs at UC
Administrative Professionals at UC
The latest union tentative agreement was reached last week by AFSCME 3299, which represents UC’s 8,300 service workers, averting a five-day strike planned to start today. The deal covers four years, with a total increase of 13.5%, plus automatic 2% annual increases for employees not “topped out” in their salary range – that adds up to 19.5% for some. The agreement freezes health care contributions, protects against contracting out, and like the historic agreements recently negotiated by UPTE-CWA and the California Nurses Association, preserves a single-tier pension. AFSCME’s 13,000 patient care technical employees are still at the bargaining table.

UC’s chief financial officer Peter Taylor has responded to the Orange County Register story we reported on last week, that the university’s "interest rate swaps" were costing it millions of dollars. In a letter to the editor, Taylor writes, “In fact, the swap alternative has saved the university millions of dollars in debt service." An editor's note following Taylor's letter shows the Register stands by its story.

A patient-worker coalition has saved UCSF’s renal center from closing, reports UPTE’s Update. UC was planning to pull out of its management role at the center, run jointly with San Francisco General Hospital and serving many low-income patients, until the community-labor coalition got a San Francisco supervisor to bring public pressure to keep it open.

Last week, 31 current and former UC Berkeley students filed two federal complaints alleging that officials had “discouraged victims from reporting assaults, failed to inform them of their rights and led a biased judicial process that favored assailants' rights over those of their victims,” reports the Los Angeles Times. One complainant said neither the “Department of Education nor UC Berkeley have made the efforts necessary to address the pervasive culture of sexual violence on our campus."    

The San Francisco Business Times reports that UC Berkeley raised a record "$3.1 billion over eight years that it will funnel toward scholarships, fellowships, research and other areas.” 

UC Online Education is offering a 33 percent tuition reduction as a pilot program for "all faculty, staff, and their spouses and dependents" for nine online courses beginning March 31, according to the Daily Californian.

Following the defeat of the UAW to represent workers at a VW plant in Tennessee, a Los Angeles Times blog published a passionately argued response to the contention that unions are no longer necessary.

Workers in Wisconsin have a personal take on the issue. After the Republican-controlled legislature there passed a 2011 law undermining public sector unions, reports the New York Times, public employees have had their wages frozen, have been stripped of just cause for termination protections, and have seen skyrocketing pension and health care contributions – which has led many to take second jobs or go on food stamps.
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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 mondaymemo@upte-cwa.org. Please feel free to forward this memo to your colleagues.

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