Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of February 22, 2016
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The anti-union lawsuit known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association is widely viewed as one of the casualties of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on February 13, according to coverage in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. The case threatened to overturn “fair share” dues requirements, forcing union members to support the costs of all bargaining and contract negotiations, even for non-members. Scalia’s death likely leaves a 4 to 4 vote among remaining justices, which means it can’t move forward, at least until a new justice is appointed. As In These Times notes, union activists need to continue organizing plans full steam ahead.

“Stop the Pension Train,” is the UCLA Faculty Association call to the UC regents in response to the university’s Tier 3 pension proposal – which they say “is being driven by a combination of error and inadequate time for consideration.” As no current retiree or UC employee is affected by the proposal, the faculty position “reflects a desire to protect the university in the future.”

The UCSB Staff Assembly Executive Board supports “the faculty's concerns that the proposed tier will affect faculty recruitment and retention,” according to the Remaking the University blog, and believes the pension change will affect UC's future and “many current employees [who] will continue to work here 10 to 20 years from now.” The Assembly also “believe[s] that future retirement options should be offered equally to all employees, including staff.”

According to San Francisco Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross, “Janet Napolitano’s office is refusing to disclose the price of those controversial Internet snooping scanners installed recently at the 10 UC campuses – or reveal whether the taxpayer-financed security system went through competitive bidding.” Nonetheless, they say, “the system doesn’t come cheap.” A UC Berkeley faculty member thinks the cost for the hardware alone at UCB “is in the ballpark of $4 million to $6 million.”

A $78 million library renovation on the UC Santa Barbara campus, writes one employee in the Daily Nexus, “addressed some major needs” but left workers out of the picture.

UC Berkeley chancellor has announced “painful changes” coming to the campus, reports Berkeleyside and the Los Angeles Times. The administration says there is a 6% budget deficit and that it will consider reorganizing academic and administrative departments.

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