Friday, March 24, 2017

Agreement reached with Teamsters

Blog readers - if they have been listening to the audios from our posts on recent Regents meetings - that there have been protests by Teamsters over an open contract negotiation with UC. However, a tentative deal has now been reached:

UC, Teamsters Local 2010 reach provisional labor agreement

By Ahna Straube | March 23, 2017 | Daily Cal

The University of California has reached a provisional labor agreement with Teamsters Local 2010 on a contract that would cover more than 11,000 clerical employees, according to a UC press release issued Thursday.

The contract will be effective through March 31, 2022, upon approval by Teamster membership, the press release stated.

Teamsters is a union of more than 14,000 employees within the UC system and is affiliated with 1.4 million members throughout the United States and Canada, according to the Teamsters website. The union’s mission is to gain better wages, benefits and working conditions for its members.

Elise Magno, a union representative for Teamsters, said the union comprises library assistants, police dispatchers, early childhood teachers, cashiers and administrative support.

In February, Teamsters protested unfair wages and a new 401(k)-style retirement plan outside UC executive offices in Downtown Oakland. Prior to the protest, the UC Board of Regents had approved a new retirement tier that included a “capped” version of the existing pension.

Magno said Teamsters has been working toward a tentative agreement with the university since last April. According to Magno, the union and the university conducted negotiations last Wednesday. She added that there was “a lot of movement” between both entities.

“I hold the local union’s opinion (that) this is a democratic process,” Magno said.

According to the press release, the proposed contract includes an annual 3 percent wage increase, a $1,200 bonus per clerical employee, a $25 limit on any rate increase to Kaiser Permanente and Health Net Blue & Gold health insurance plans and the continuation of current retirement benefits for employees hired before July 1, 2016.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that maintains competitive wages and benefits for our clerical colleagues and recognizes the important role they play in keeping our campuses and medical centers running,” said Dwaine Duckett, UC vice president for systemwide human resources, in the press release.

Teamsters-represented employees are expected to vote on the provisional agreement in the next three weeks, according to Magno.


Note: The union's summary of the tentative agreement indicates that it accepts the lower-tier pension arrangement for new hires that the Regents approved. Some of the protests in the past focused on the pension. The summary states:

New hires will have choice of the defined benefit pension or defined contribution plan, just like non-represented employees and members of the following Unions: IX & LX-Units: AFT; DX-Unit: UAPD/AFSCME; K2-Unit - San Francisco BTC; K5-Unit: IUOE; KB-Unit: Alameda County BTC; K8 & K9 & KM-Units-SETC.

Source: [p. 4]

New Chancellor; New Scandal at Berkeley

As one chancellor revolves out, and another revolves in at UC-Berkeley, a new sexual harassment scandal arises:

It’s more bad news for both a discipline and an institution that have been plagued by reports of sexual harassment and assault in recent years: a former research assistant is suing the University of California for failing to properly address her report of misconduct against a star philosopher on the Berkeley campus...

Full story at:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Apart from that

University of California President Janet Napolitano is headed to Mexico next week to reassure leaders there that the public research university remains committed to academic collaboration — even if some of it, such as climate change research, is at risk under the Trump administration.

In an interview Wednesday, Napolitano said she would build on the UC-Mexico Initiative she launched in 2014 despite President Trump’s plans to build a border wall, increase immigration enforcement and reduce federal research funding.

She said she planned to tell Mexicans during three days of meetings starting next Wednesday, "Regardless of what is happening federally, the University of California remains open to academic partnerships with Mexico."...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CSU Trustees Voted To Increase Tuition By 5 Percent

Despite public outcries from students and elected officials, the California State University Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition by 5 percent for the next school year to address an expected shortfall in funding from the state.
The vote was 11-8, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson -- all ex-officio members of the board -- among those dissenting.
The trustees approved two amendments -- one to rescind the hike if sufficient state funding comes through, and another calling for reports over the next two years detailing how the additional dollars are spent...
The combo of UC and CSU planning tuition increases will likely trigger political reactions in the legislature. But the legislature is facing possible major cuts in "Obamacare" aid. Whether it will want to come up with more for higher ed while under that threat is unknown. And whether the governor would permit it is another unknown. On the other hand, political flailing can be harmful. And worth noting:
[Click to enlarge.]

Now you don't see them; now you do

Berkeley's 20,000 disappearing videos seem to be coming back. This blog earlier noted that some independent entity could preserve them. It now seems to be happening: [Excerpt from Daily Cal

LBRY, a content sharing and publishing platform, copied 20,000 lectures from UC Berkeley’s YouTube channel before they were deleted and will make them publicly available beginning in April.
UC Berkeley announced in early March that it would restrict public access to legacy recorded classroom lectures, or Course Capture, after the Department of Justice determined that the publicly available lectures were not up to standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jeremy Kauffman, founder and CEO of LBRY, said it was unfortunate that the campus was forced to take down the lectures and that his company believed it would be better if they were still available without subtitles than not available at all.
“What motivated our community is that we saw information disappearing that shouldn’t disappear and our technology is designed to keep information around,” Kauffman said.
The videos being uploaded onto LBRY currently do not have subtitles, but Kauffman said he’d be happy to work with anyone interested in collaborating with their company to provide them.
The lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by viewers unaffiliated with UC Berkeley, alleged many aspects of the Course Captures were in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including inaccessible video captions, and concluded that those with disabilities are denied equal access to UC Berkeley’s services. After its investigation, the DOJ found “significant portions of UC Berkeley’s online content in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states equality must be granted on all public forums...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Signature events

A letter from many university and college presidents went to President Trump on March 16 urging protections for DREAM students. You can find the letter at:

Among the signatures:

University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Merced
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Santa Cruz

Not found:

UC-San Francisco
UC-San Diego
UC-Santa Barbara

Yours truly noticed that there was no signature from UC systemwide and thought it was because UC was a system, not a single entity. But then he found University of Illinois System on the list of signatures. There may be explanations.

Monday, March 20, 2017

When you gotta go

Ignore the fighting words between state lawmakers: California’s ban on publicly funded travel to “bathroom bill” states won’t block UCLA’s trip to the Big Dance this week.
The Bruins are punching their tickets to the Sweet 16 in Memphis even though Tennessee is on California’s list of no-go destinations under a new law that prohibits travel to states with policies that Golden State leaders consider to be discriminatory.
A UCLA spokesman told The Bee in December that the school will not schedule athletic games in banned states.
Since then, UCLA has decided that it won’t “deny our student-athletes the right to participate in postseason play,” according to a report in the Wichita Eagle. That means the campus is not letting the travel ban stand in the way of the NCAA tournament.
The California law, adopted in response to a North Carolina measure that requires people using restrooms in government buildings to choose the one that corresponds to their gender at birth, has triggered conflicting interpretations about how universities should apply it to college sports. Tennessee made the list because of a law allowing therapists to deny services to gay and transgender clients.
On one hand, leaders from UC and California State University campuses have said they will not schedule games in states on the banned list. On the other, they have noted that they do not use public funds for certain athletic events, and they retain the choice of attending marquee events.