Monday Memo

Monday Memo: Week of August 28, 2017

Outsourcing is again under the microscope at UC. A new state audit finds “a troubling pattern of low wages and second-tier treatment of contract employees,” said state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-LA), in addition to “poor contract oversight,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Contracted workers in low-wage positions, such as food service, parking, and medical assistance, made an average of $3.86 less per hour than comparable UC workers, and one in four had no health benefits or retirement plan.

UCSF earlier this year received widespread criticism from politicians and media across the country when it axed the jobs of more than 40 career staff and contracted out their jobs to India. Now the Los Angeles Times reports that a new audit by the State of California has found that UC failed to fully comply with its own procedures for contracting out work. At UC Davis, for example, UC also failed to follow procedures when contracting out food services – and manipulated the procedures to avoid competitive bidding.

No offshoring
UCSF IT workers tell the regents to end offshoring plans. Photo by Joe Kahraman.

Another recent audit, this time of the UCPath payroll and personnel system, found that UCOP failed to inform the regents about problems with the project, which “will cost UC nearly $1 billion – triple the expected cost – and will take five years longer than planned.” Anticipated savings of $753 million, mainly from staff reductions, “will not materialize,” according to the audit.

In “a scathing letter,” UC Berkeley energy specialist Daniel M. Kammen resigned as science envoy to the State Department because of President Trump’s remarks about Charlottesville. His “most biting message,” reports the Washington Post, appears as ”a hidden acrostic: The first letter of each paragraph spelled out I-M-P-E-A-C-H.”

How do today’s unions help working people? By “giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig the economy,” according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. Collective bargaining plays a number of essential roles both in the workplace and in giving working people “a voice in our democracy,” says EPI. Slightly more than 1 in 9 workers are now in unions, which are thriving in both “old” and “new” economy workplaces, including adjunct teaching staff, digital journalists and screenwriters, transportation workers, lobster fishers, and professional and technical employees.

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