Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of November 27, 2017
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“It’s time for President Janet Napolitano to go.” That was the declaration of the San Jose Mercury News last week in the wake of an investigation commissioned by the regents showing that Napolitano’s office had interfered in a state auditor’s investigation in order to cast UCOP and her office in a better light.

The Mercury News editorial was underscored a few days later in another opinion piece that described in more detail how Napolitano directed campuses to send their responses first to her in what she characterized as a “witch hunt.” But neither this report, nor the state auditor’s report, found that Napolitano had known that her subordinates had asked campuses to tone down or delete criticisms, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Los Angeles station KTLA reports that the state auditor is asking the UC regents to discipline employees who interfered with the audit. Faculty activists Chris Newfield and Michael Meranze also take a look at the case on their Remaking the University blog, calling for new UC leadership.

The evolving UC audit scandal is a topic in the latest UPTE Update, just off the press. Also covered is the fight to protect UC workers’ wages and pensions in bargaining, organizing student services professionals, information technology (IT) titles now represented by UPTE, and the new union-backed legislation banning outsourcing of IT jobs.

Labor Notes is also reporting a big victory for United Campus Workers, a CWA-affiliate at the University of Tennessee system, which has stopped that state’s governor’s plan to outsource jobs.

Union activists at UC Riverside are fighting a spate of IT layoffs, reports the Highlander. Most of those laid off do not have union protections, reports the Press Enterprise, but UPTE activists are mobilizing to support them in every way possible.

The regents have given permission for UC to bid on managing the Los Alamos National Laboratory, described as “birthplace of the atomic bomb and still one of the nation's premier nuclear research facilities.” The current contract with a management consortium, which includes UC, ends in 2018.

More than 500 UC Berkeley students have applied for food stamps since January this year, up from 111 in all of 2016, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

As Republicans try to push through a massive tax cut for the wealthy, organized labor is lining up in opposition, reports the New York Times. UPTE’s international union, the Communications Workers of America, is sending letters to companies of the workers it represents, including AT&T and NBC Universal, demanding they guarantee a $4,000 pay raise for every worker if the corporate tax rate is cut. (The GOP falsely claims that cutting the corporate rate from 35 to 20 percent will mean an
average $4,000 increase for workers.)     

The tax cut would dramatically affect higher education, raising taxes on grad students, costing teachers as much as $2 billion, and hitting those making under $75,000 the hardest, according to the Washington Post.

If you haven’t yet contacted your representatives to stop this corporate tax scam, please take a moment and express your opposition today using this toll free number, which will connect you with your Congressional rep: 888-894-6720.

The state of Oregon has become the first in the nation to institute a public pension program for workers, called OregonSaves, reports the New York Times.

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