Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC

For the week of October 10, 2016

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United Auto Workers 5810, which represents University of California postdoctoral researchers, just announced a tentative contract agreement that “dramatically improves conditions for postdocs.” Members will start voting on the agreement this week. If the contract is ratified they will have the highest salaries for postdocs at any public university in the US, and paid parental leave, as well as improved appointment length and strengthened “protections against discrimination and sexual harassment.”

A group of Berkeley Faculty would love to see Robert Reich as chancellor of UC Berkeley, reports the San Francisco Chronicle – adding that the association’s statement of principles call “for greater transparency in the chancellor search and [highlight] their desire for a new direction in campus leadership.” A first version of the faculty’s statement was published as an op ed in the Daily Californian on October 4.

UC is collaborating with insurance giant UnitedHealthCare to create a new health plan, which will also “expand research into patient data,” reports Kaiser Health News. UC’s head of health care strategy told reporters that the new plan offered “data-mining capabilities,”  saying that UnitedHealth-owned OptumLabs “will provide UC researchers and physicians access to one of the nation’s largest databases of medical claims, although it will not be publicly available and patients’ identities will not be revealed.” That database includes claims information on more than 150 million people going back two decades, as well as the medical records of 50 million patients.

In what the Santa Cruz Sentinel calls the “single largest gift ever received by the university,” UCSC’s McHenry Library has received tens of thousands of photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies valued at $32 million that document the San Francisco Bay Area from the 1940s to the 1970s. The massive collection by photographers Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch, reports public radio station KQED, covers a wide range of California history, such as the Black Panther Party, migrant workers, environmentally threatened communities, and the hippie culture of San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury.

UPTE’s 2017 convention will be held in Visalia, California on January 14, 15, and 16, 2017. All eligible UPTE members are encouraged to attend. Locals will receive a tentative agenda and proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions prior to the convention. Want to attend? Contact your local.

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