Monday Memo: March 5

Week of March 5, 2018

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has blocked the release of a video showing him being heckled at UCLA during the taping of an NPR program in front of 400-member audience. Mnuchin’s interview, heckles and all, is on Marketplace, and CNN and Huffington Post published videos of UCLA students and faculty dressed as French aristocrats to protest the Trump administration’s tax bill benefiting the wealthy. 

Higher education staff at 64 British institutions are in the second week of a strike, according to the BBC. The University and College Union, which produced this video from the picket lines, says they fighting against plans to transform their “defined benefit” pensions providing a regular income into “defined contribution” plans that is pegged to the stock market, like a 401(k). The change would cost them the equivalent of $14,000 each year in retirement. 

A massive walkout of public school teachers and support staff in West Virginia is on, after the state’s Republican governor said he’d meet their demands for a 5% raise but the state’s legislators’ didn’t agree, reports CNNPolitico and Labor Notes. West Virginia’s teachers are among the nation’s lowest-paid at $33,000 entry level salaries. 

UPTE members stading for respect and dignityThe Sacramento Business Journal(subscription required) sat in on UPTE’s contract bargaining in Davis earlier this month. Understaffing and stagnant wages have made recruiting and retaining workers difficult, UPTE bargainer Greg Wine told the journal, resulting in people “working back-to-back 16-hour shifts. It’s unsustainable.” 

UC Berkeley has resolved a four-year investigation by the federal government into the campus’s handling of sexual harassment complaints. The investigation began in 2014 after 31 students filed complaints alleging that UC ignored their claims of sexual harassment. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that the ranking of the University of California has fallen in an annual global survey, intensifying concern about the erosion of the system from budget cuts. “There has been a steady, sustained disinvestment in the UC and this is the inevitable result,” said one faculty member. 

A victory by public-sector unions and their allies, as Massachusetts expands federal Occupational Safety and Health Act protections to state and municipal workers for the first time since OSHA was passed for private-sector workers in 1970 and made optional for public-sector workers. (California is one of 22 states and jurisdictions that had opted to cover public-sector workers, and five states cover only public-sector workers.) 

California’s Democratic Party, meeting last week in San Diego, passed a platform that would make California the first-in-the-nation to support fully tuition-free public colleges for all

The future of public-sector unions and the context of the anti-union Janus case heard by the Supreme Court last Monday was the main topic of Your Call radio’s weekly Media Roundtable on KALW FM, which starts at 10:50 minutes into the discussion.

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June 25  |  June 18  |  June 11  |  June 4  |  May 14  |  May 7  |  April 30  |  April 23  |  April 16  |  April 9  |  April 2  |  March 26  |  March 19  |  March 12  |  March 5  |  February 26  |  February 12  |  February 5  |  January 29  |  January 8

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