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UC-AFT Insider January 2010

UC-AFT Insider

January 7, 2010

In this issue:

  • New Year’s Message from UC-AFT President Bob Samuels
  • Schwarzenegger Pledges Funding for Education
  • The Governor’s Bold Plan
  • March 4th Planning
  • Victory for Custodians at UCSC
  • New Yorker Article—Protest Studies
  • Higher Ed Should Better Reflect the Times

New Year’s Message from UC-AFT President Bob Samuels

Throughout last summer and the Fall term, we’ve witnessed and participated in historic transformations at the University of California.  The UC Regents and President Yudof have used the occasion of cuts in state funding to move quickly in the direction of institutionalizing reliance on private funding for the core instructional mission, and to a high fee/ high aid model for tuition.

UC-AFT has been at the forefront of the various groups and coalitions resisting these changes and offering alternative possibilities for maintaining access, affordability, and quality in the core instructional program at UC. 

The coming year promises further challenges for our members.   Despite Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent claim that he will protect education funding in this year’s budget, the State is facing another multi-billion dollar deficit for 2010/11.  While we brace for possible future cuts, the last round of reductions affecting our members, including layoffs, reductions-in-time and workload increases, will most likely continue to be implemented over the next few terms.

Our union is committed to protecting and enhancing our work within the University, but we must be equally committed to protecting the University as a whole.  A statewide education coalition has formed to raise awareness about the negative effects and consequences of continued reductions in state funding.  The coalition has chosen March 4th as a statewide day of action.   I encourage you to participate in the planning of statewide and local events as this year’s budget process continues.  There is already evidence that protests across the state have influenced the Governor’s position with respect to education funding.

We must also be diligent in our efforts to help UC reprioritize its use of existing funds.  There is mounting evidence that UC has significant flexibility in the use of funds generated in profit sectors and through administrative overhead on research grants.  In the interest of transparency and accountability, UC-AFT is working with the UC union coalition to push for an audit of UC finances.  We believe that transparency in the UC budget and accounting process is essential to countering the push toward privatization at UC.

Finally, please stay in touch with the UC-AFT staff and officers at your campus.  Our ability to respond to and proactively address issues really depends on communication with our members.

Here’s to a happy, productive, and secure 2010!

Sincerely,

Bob Samuels
President, UC-AFT 

Schwarzenegger Pledges Funding for Education

In his state of the state address earlier this week Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a rebalancing of spending between higher education and prisons, and vowed to protect education from further cuts in this year’s budget.    

Schwarzenegger Seeks Shift from Prisons to Schools - New York Times. Jan 6, 2010

Governor’s Bold Plan

Visit Bob Samuels’ blog for a discussion of the Governor’s proposal to privatize prisons and increase higher education funding with the savings from prison spending.

The Governor’s Bold Plan or Another Media Event?​ - Changing Universities. Jan 6, 2010

Also, check out this important post on the necessity of an audit of UC finances to the movement to reprioritize UC spending.

Auditing the UC SystemChanging Universities. Jan 4, 2010

March 4th Planning

The coordinating committee organizing statewide actions on March 4th is holding planning meetings in the north and south of the state on Sunday January 10th.  The March 4th date was originally conceived of on October 24th at a statewide education reform conference at UCB.  Check this website for opportunities to get involved in the planning.

http://defendcapubliceducation.wordpress.com/

Victory for Custodians at UCSC

​AFSCME represented custodians at UCSC were able to stop a mandatory reduction in time two months earlier than UC planned.  They were originally noticed that there would be a 15% cut for four months.  The campus agreed to curtail the reduction in time when upper management agreed that it was not feasible to get the work done correctly with the reductions in place.  AFSCME custodians held several actions focused around the problems stemming from the reduced work hours. AFSCME is continuing to fight reductions in time for grounds keepers and other workers who make less than $40 thousand per year.

New Yorker Article—Protest Studies

Here’s an article from The New Yorker focused on the protests that occurred at Berkeley leading up to and after the vote to increase student fees.  The article emphasizes the chaotic nature of the protests and Berkeley’s history of protest at the expense of a serious treatment of the issues that sparked unprecedented protest at virtually every UC campus.   UCB Lecturer, Michael Cohen, is featured prominently in the article.

Letter from California: Protest Studies - New Yorker. Jan 4, 2010

Higher Ed Should Better Reflect the Times

This Op-Ed piece in the L.A. Times by a Professor of Higher Education at USC endorses the high fee-high aid model as one of four reforms necessary for higher education in California.  It has been shown that the high fee-high aid model has a negative effect on enrollment of low income students, particularly in public colleges, due to the transition in student aid from grants to loans.

Higher Education in California Should Better Reflect the Times - Los Angeles Times. Jan 3, 2010

Membership

If you have not already joined the union, please fill out the attached membership form, or download one from our website.  You are represented by UC-AFT, but representation and deductions from your pay do not mean that you are automatically a member.  You can mail the completed application to the address on the bottom of the form, or contact your local staff for assistance.  

Join UC-AFT

The University Council – American Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the California Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.