Igniting a union - Page 3

Leadership struggle among UC academic employees points to more militancy against budget proposals

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Union reformer Mandy Cohen addresses an April 5 rally expressing solidarity with Wisconsin public employees.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AWDU

But Deutsch says that the contract is a perfect example of her disillusionment with traditional union organizing and the previous leadership. Union members ultimately voted to ratify it despite AWDU criticism that the union didn't seek enough input from members or push for a better deal. AWDU gained traction and established a significant public presence for the first time with this opposition.

"It's not that I think it's the worst contract we could have gotten," she said, explaining that her problem is with the process, not necessarily with the results. If more members had been consulted and included, she would have been content. She mentioned the dire need for affordable housing at the Irvine campus as an example of member concerns that were not prioritized.

Peter Chester, chief contract negotiator for the university, said that in the "current budgetary circumstances," UAW did "very well" and expressed concern that the slate, which opposed the contract, did so well among academic workers.

But the victory by reformers probably signals a new militancy in the union, which is expected to resist proposals to privatize campus services and push for a stronger voice in the tough decisions facing the university system. Cohen said that making the case for taxing the rich to pay for public education is the wider goal and the reason she ran for a position at the union.

"It's eye-opening to be a student and benefit from education here at the UC, but also to identify as a public employee," she said. "When I got to the UC, I was so proud. And then this struggle came to my doorstep, and I didn't have a choice in this moment." 

 

Comments

Together the unions need to address the free spending of UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau which curbs raises. (The author who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at UC Berkeley (Cal.) where he was able to observe the culture & the way senior management work)

University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau gross over spending, inept decisions: recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians from public university education; spends $7,000,000 for consultants to do his & many vice chancellors jobs (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same at 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment (ROI) drops below top10; NCAA places basketball program on probation: absence institutional control.

Californians, UC Board of Regents Chairman Gould, Calif. State Legislature should take note of UC chancellors, like Birgeneau, who ignore California’s deficit and replace them with those who understand the basic concept of public service to Californians.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

Decent article. The only substantive detail it skirts over is the fact that mediation broke down. The details of the failure of that process might be interesting.

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:14 am

If you'd explain that would add to the discussion

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2011 @ 9:18 am

From my understanding disclosing the circumstances which caused the breakdown in mediation would actually violate terms of the mediation agreement meant to ensure the mediator's privacy. I was never privy to the specifics of that agreement so I don't know exactly what the reasoning is on that (it may have something to do with then using the mediator and their participation for political point scoring). In any case, on my understanding we don't get to know why mediation broke down. Or, rather, those of us who do know something would be acting improperly if they were to reveal the circumstances which caused mediation to fail.

Posted by Guest on May. 20, 2011 @ 3:21 am

As Californians face foreclosure, unemployment & depressed wages it's time the timid Governor, UC Board of Regents, whining President Yudof showed leadership by curbing costs, particularly wages, benefits. As a Californian, I don't care what others earn at private, public universities. If wages are better elsewhere, chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP executives should apply for the positions. If wages keep employees committed to UC, leave for the better paying job. The sky above UC will not fall. California suffers from the worst deficit in modern times. UC wages, benefits must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid elsewhere. Campus chancellors, vice chancellors, tenured & non-tenured faculty, UCOP executives are replaceable by more talented individuals.
Curb UC tuition increases:
No furloughs
18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50 million cut.
18 percent prune of campus chancellors', vice chancellors' salaries.
15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increased teaching load
10 percent decrease in non-tenured faculty salaries, as well as increase research, teaching load
100% elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

A rose bush blooms after pruning.

The Governor, UC Board of Regents, whining President can bridge the trust gap to the public by offering reassurances that salaries reflect depressed wages in California. The sky above UC has not, will not fall.
Californians are reasonable people. Levy no new taxes until an approved balanced budget: let the Governor/Legislature lead: make the tough-minded (not cold hearted) decisions of elected leadership. Afterwards come to the public for specified, continuing or new taxes.
Thanking you in advance for your partnership & for standing up for Californians, University of California system.

Posted by Guest on May. 20, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

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