Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of June 19, 2017

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The San Francisco ChronicleNBC Los Angeles and the Sacramento Bee are reporting that a new state budget deal punishes UC's Office of the President. The budget agreement announced Tuesday by the governor and legislative leader strips some of UCOP's financial autonomy in the wake of a state audit scandal involving hidden funds and misleading accounting on the university's part. The state will withhold $50 million from UC if it doesn't fix the problems identified by the state auditor.

An article in Salon asks if UC president Janet Napolitano's administration is fostering economic inequality. UC is California's third-largest employer and is "struggling with worker strikes and contentious contract negotiations" for frontline workers in several units.

UC has issued guidance for the university community on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, following the Trump administration's statement that it will maintain the essential program for children of undocumented immigrants, also known as "dreamers." UC campuses have special resources for the thousands of dreamers in attendance, such as UCB's Undocumented Student Program.

Students at UCB's undocumented student center
Students at UCB's Undocumented Student Center

The first of a five-part Center for Public Integrity series on U.S. nuclear negligence, also reported in the Washington Post, concludes that "safety lapses undermine nuclear warhead work at Los Alamos" National Laboratory, and that workplace safety is taking a "back seat to profit-seeking" there.  UC managed Los Alamos from World War II until 2006, when the Department of Energy selected a group of three private firms, including Bechtel Corporation, and the university, to manage it. For a history, see the Santa Fe New Mexican.

UPTE's national union, the Communications Workers of America, has been following three developing bills in the US Legislature that could severely restrict workers' rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions. CWA's Jody Calemine testified in Congress that the proposed legislation was "a naked political assault on labor unions and nothing more."

Adjunct faculty at a small religious institution, Manhattan College, finally have had their election from six years ago certified by the National Labor Relations Board. The local is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Axios reports that the "education gap" between rich and poor in the US continues to grow. As jobs decline on the state level, a new study found, college attendance also goes down, especially among the poor.

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