Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the Week of August 24, 2015

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Despite the historic victory by UC unions last year to preserve the current single-tier pension plan for employees, UC is still moving ahead with plans to erode pension plans that would eliminate the traditional defined benefit pension for future employees and replace it with an inferior 401k-style plan, according to Remaking the University blog. The UCLA Faculty Association blog also examines the so-called “orphan” pension plan, which might be better described as a plan on the road to demise.

Want to know how much a college education is going to cost in California? Check out this interactive map that shows the in-state tuition and living costs at each UC and CSU campus.

PENSION

If you thought the conservative zeal for ditching public services by contracting them couldn’t get worse, consider the plan by Tennessee to contract out maintenance of public buildings including those at the University of Tennessee. The governor there is “quietly moving to privatize the management and operations of virtually all state government buildings and facilities not already outsourced to the multinational property management giant Jones Lang LaSalle, including state colleges and universities, prisons, state parks and National Guard armories,” according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. United Campus Workers, a CWA affiliated local representing staff and faculty at UTenn that is fighting the degradation.

We recently reported on a decision by the ASUC at UC Berkeley to support improved wages and working conditions of workers of the food and services vendors it contracts with. It may have an early opportunity to put its principles to the test. The Daily Californian reported on the dismal conditions of employees of Chartwells, a food service company the ASUC has recently contracted with.

The Los Angeles Times reports on what it calls a little known unit of the Department of Education and how it has reshaped how universities police and prosecute sexual assaults on campus. Under the Obama administration, the Office of Civil Rights has redefined campus sexual assault as a civil rights issue and put pressure on universities – including several UC campuses—for their unsatisfactory handling.

The Los Angeles Times also published an op-ed by the Foothill Technology High School attacking the notion that affirmative action is reverse racism.

UC Berkeley’s chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, is building an unsightly fence around his official university house, which is on the campus. Tanya Smith, former president of the UCB UPTE local, was interviewed by the Daily Californian about the move.

Withering state funding and the expansion of online classes has slowed the development of UC Merced, the Merced Sun-Star reports.

A few weeks ago, there were celebrations across the US marking 50 years of Medicare (and Medicaid) coverage. Universal health care coverage (also known as “single payer”) is getting national attention these days in the presidential race, and the AFL-CIO also affirmed its support. UPTE is seeking a currently-employed member to attend the Labor Campaign for Single Payer conference (Oct. 30-Nov 1). Interested? Please contact UPTE’s systemwide office.
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