Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of June 02, 2014

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Late last week, UC’s Office of the President announced it was repealing the “Rule of 50” that would have put half of non-unionized employees under a drastically inferior retiree health program. The change comes after UPTE-CWA and several other UC unions successfully fought the “Rule of 50” at the bargaining table, and after employees at every campus signed petitions and wrote letters objecting to the change. Celebrate!
Administrative professional employees organizing for a union contract with UPTE have also been signing a petition to UC president Janet Napolitano urging her to approve a fair pay increase. While UC gave an “overall” increase of 3% this year, that figure will be reduced by at least half due to additional pension contributions. After years of 0% increases, 1.5% is not enough!

More than 400 UC faculty members have signed a petition "calling for UC officials to negotiate fairly and sincerely" with United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents teaching assistants and other academic workers "who plan to strike during finals week ... if they do not reach a contract," reports the Daily Bruin. In response to two of the sticking points in negotiations between UC and the union – a demand for smaller class sizes and higher wages – the faculty petition says “Increasing class sizes and inadequate graduate student support are issues that concern us all.”

Up to 15 California community colleges will be able to offer four-year degrees if a bill (SB 850), passed by the state Senate last week, becomes law, reports the San Diego Union Tribune. The pilot program "would help the state graduate more students with bachelor degrees, particularly in technical and vocational fields."

Researchers at UC Berkeley’s Debt and Society Project have issued a new report on debt across the higher education system, according to the Nation. It confirms what we already know: that student debt is reaching untenable proportions. What is more surprising is that higher education institutions have been borrowing heavily as well, but instead of putting the money into educational support, they’ve been sinking it into fancy football stadiums and new dorm rooms.

As millions of graduates from UC and campuses all over the country prepare to enter the workforce, what can they expect? The Center for Economic Policy and Research finds that even with a college degree, recent African American graduates have a higher unemployment rate and are more likely to be employed in jobs not requiring college degrees. Their paper, A College Degree Is No Guarantee, reported that 12.4 percent of recent black graduates were unemployed, versus 5.6 percent for all college graduates, and that 56 percent were underemployed. Higher rates also affect recent black graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  
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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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