Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of March 17, 2014

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Two more groups of union-represented UC employees have called strikes this spring. AFSCME 3299 represents UC’s patient care technical workers, who voted by a 97% margin for a March 24-28 strike at UC's five medical centers at Davis, San Francisco, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego, citing management’s bad faith bargaining. A second union, UAW 2865, which represents teaching assistants and other UC student academic workers, will strike on some campuses
April 2-3.

UC faculty members write about loss of benefits in Berkeley’s Daily Californian, citing what they call "systematic and universal downgrading of our salaries and benefits that ... sets different groups of us on different tracks." The authors, co-chairs of the UC Berkeley Faculty Association, contrasted the inferior two-tier pensions forced on them by UC with the better single-tier pensions that several UC unions -- such as the California Nurses Association, UPTE, and AFSCME 3299 – fought for and retained in their recent historic agreements.

Just after Bloomberg News reported that the University of California "is preparing to sell $750 million of bonds this month," Moody's Investors Service lowered UC's credit "rating to Aa2, third highest, and assigned the same grade to $950 million in revenue bonds scheduled to be sold April 3." Although Moody's cited “inconsistent” state funding and "rising costs for debt service, employee pensions and retiree health care," a university spokesperson said "We don't anticipate significantly higher borrowing costs...."

Monday Memo recently reported on a complaint by 31 current and former UC Berkeley students over the campus’s failure in dealing with sexual assaults. Now one of the complainants has published her own account.
Demonstration (

Public employee pensions are under attack across the country, including California. AlterNet’s Lynn Parramore examines the issue through Detroit’s bankruptcy and reflects on what it means for the country as a whole.

An attempt by the state Legislature to allow California’s universities to consider race and ethnicity appears to be all but dead after constituents, including many Asian Americans, protested.

UC Davis’s campus newspaper, the Aggie, has suspended publication just shy of its 100th birthday. Flagging finances led to the decision, which makes UCD the only undergraduate UC campus without a student newspaper. Editors say the Aggie will become an all-volunteer, digital publication.

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