Monday Memo

Monday Memo: Week of August 14, 2017

“This looks like a reward for incompetence” was one of many sharp reactions to news that UC Berkeley’s former chancellor Nicholas Dirks will receive $434,000 in paid time off before he returns to teaching next year, according to the Mercury News. Dirks resigned earlier this year after a tenure plagued by sexual harassment scandals and charges of financial mismanagement, having made an annual salary as chancellor of $532,000, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting said that UC seems “to have all the funding they need” when it comes to executives. Berkeley Faculty Association chair Michael Burawoy said that the payment “an appalling commentary on the distribution of benefits at a time of supposed fiscal crisis and when many students can barely scrape together a living,” and suggested Dirks contribute half his salary to a fund for homeless students. A San Francisco Chronicle editorial said such perks make UC “look a lot tougher on student and family budgets than it is on its own.”

UPTE delegates Jamie McDole, Shanna Vela, and Fernando Martinez at the CWA Convention
Photo by Lisa Kermish

Almost 14,000 UC employees who were underpaid for overtime work between 2014 and 2016 will receive payments averaging $100 per person pursuant to a settlement negotiated with the Labor Department totaling about $1.3 million, according to the Sacramento Bee. UC blamed the shortchanging on the transition to its new payroll system, UCPath. Workers owed less than $20 will not receive anything, saving UC $100,000. “The University has deep pockets when it comes to bloated executive bureaucracy,” said the president of AFSCME’s local at UC, “but suddenly has tight pockets when it comes to paying front-line workers the wages they’ve earned.”

Delegates from UPTE-CWA travelled to Pittsburg last week to attend the Communications Workers of America convention. You can watch a 2-minute video or see photos from the convention, take in the convention address by Sara Steffens (who is a former UPTE staffer and the current CWA vice president), or read resolutions passed by delegates, including a CWAStrong resolution that includes protections for public sector workers, and an emergency resolution rejecting the hatred and bigotry of white supremacists.

UC Irvine was embarrassed last month after rescinding the admission letters of 500 incoming students, but the New York Times reports the practice is not unusual among California colleges.

With the Trump administration taking aim at affirmative action programs at colleges and universities, Latino and African American legislators in Sacramento have sent letters to the top six gubernatorial candidates asking about their position on affirmative action and their plans to diversify colleges and state government if they are elected.

UPTE-CWA 9119 | P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510-704-8783 |