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For the Week of June 20, 2011
Eyes are on Sacramento this week, after California’s governor, Jerry Brown, vetoed the legislature’s budget for the first time in history, saying it didn’t address the questions of either necessary tax increases or deep spending cuts. Two legislative leaders, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), expressed frustration with the governor’s action and blamed Republicans for not agreeing to a bipartisan deal to extend taxes.
The budget included an additional $150 million cut for the UC system, on top of the $500 million cut already signed into law.
Meanwhile, representatives from UPTE and other UC unions had their quarterly meeting about benefits issues. UC reps had stated at the last meeting they expected benefits costs to go up more than 10%, which it would implement as a flat dollar figure across all pay bands instead of a percentage. Such an increase would hit lower-paid workers harder, relative to their salaries. UC is also expecting an $11 million windfall to cover the cost of retiree health benefits as part of national health care reforms, money which must be used to mitigate increased health care costs.
UPTE is negotiating health care premiums and copays for its represented units (researchers and techs). Unfortunately, because UC’s 12,000 administrative professionals don’t yet have collective bargaining rights, they don’t have a say in how the changes will affect them.
Why do workers need a seat at the bargaining table in these difficult economic times? For a humorous take, watch these three videos and pass them on to your friends.