Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of December 15, 2014

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In an 11–3 vote, last week UC Berkeley student government representatives voted "no confidence" in the UC regents and President Napolitano, joining three other Associated Students of the University of California governing bodies. The bill demands a repeal of the tuition hikes announced in November, and "outlines the creation of a task force ... that will investigate the UC budget," according to the Daily Californian.

Demonstrations over the fee hikes “began with only twenty to thirty students,” reports USA Today, “but within hours it exploded to around 200 and touched all 10 UC universities.” The rising cost of UC fees is in contradiction to the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education.

UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union led a large and peaceful march over the weekend from the Berkeley campus to the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, according to Berkeleyside.com, while an artists’ collective has taken responsibility for lynching photographs that appeared on campus just before the march.

The Sierra Sun Times is reporting that UC has paid nearly a half million dollars to settle a lawsuit with the federal government “to resolve civil allegations under the False Claims Act that the University of California at Davis submitted false and misleading statements in connection with”  Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation grants.

UC Berkeley announced a data breach today of its servers involving current and former employees. CSOonline notes the hacking was detected back in September, and wonders why it took the campus so long to notify affected individuals.

UC's 13,000 student workers represented by UAW Local 2865 voted last week to join the BDS Movement – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – against Israel. According to the Daily Californian, it’s the “first major U.S. labor union to support this type of divestment by a membership vote.”

In a surprising 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court has ruled that Amazon workers who are required to wait up to 25 minutes to be searched by a security company before entering and leaving Amazon warehouses do not have to be paid for that time, reports the New York Times and the Daily Beast, which calls Amazon “Santa’s Sweatshop.” Critics, such as the National Employment Law Project, called the ruling “grossly unfair,” saying the practice undermined the Fair Labor Standards Act. Curiously, one of the court’s most conservative members suggested Amazon workers should unionize and take their issues to the bargaining table, according to the Huffington Post.

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