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Victories and challenges of the AWDU caucus and public sector union activists

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8 comments

  1. Could the authors of this piece please send this to the statewide AWDU email list?

  2. In the event that we are not able to make the 1% pay, or perhaps not pay enough, and we are involved in a contract negotiation with UC, isn’t it the case that any increase we get will mean either an increase in student tuition or a decrease in what other unions are able to negotiate?

    • Aaron, thanks for asking. Two points:

      1) It depends on how much we win relative to inflation. Inflation impacts UC expenditures _and_ revenue. Given steady inflation over the course of the three-year contract, TA earnings actually lose ‘real’ value. You make less today in real terms than you did three years ago, even though your earnings statement shows the same figure. The contract should minimally increase wages in proportion to inflation over the past three years.

      2) Improving wages for student workers doesn’t imply a need to raise tuition or for other workers to take wage/benefit cuts. This is because tuition is not the only source of revenue, and wages are not the only form of expenditure. As many activists have pointed out, the university suffers from “bureaucratic bloat,” in which middle and higher management earn a growing share of income. For example, I also believe something in the ball park of $10M dollars disappeared from UCLA, as a recent audit revealed. I guess the point is that although contract gains are part of a zero-sum game, that game encompasses the entire financial structure of the UC and not just the workers.

  3. On “bureaucratic bloat”, here are some numbers. I am digging up more information about the exorbitant salaries of upper management as well; that information was widely circulated during the periods of mass action at the UCs in 2009-10 and 2011. Forthcoming.

    By 2011, there were nearly as many senior managers (8,144) as tenured and tenure-track faculty (8,521).

    As recently as 1993, the ratio between these groups was much different — 2,429 to 6,846.

    Put another way, 19 years ago the student-to-upper management ratio was 62-to-1; now it’s all the way down to 2-to-1.

    The ratio of students to regular faculty, meanwhile, has risen from 22-to-1 in 1993 to 26-to-1.

    • Thanks, Zach. How do we know, though, that these administrators are not helping to increase revenue for the university by managing revenue-generating programs that don’t require hiring full-time faculty?

      In the presence of a budget shortfall because of state disinvestment, how should we think about balancing the need to generate revenue with the need to maintain access + excellence (e.g not let classroom sizes increase due to increasing student to regular faculty ratios)?

  4. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this inflation argument. If UC’s revenue sources remained constant — e.g. tuition went up 3%, medical revenues went up 3%, state funding went up 3% — then the inflation argument would make sense. But this isn’t at all the case — UC has been steadily losing state funding, and it hasn’t even entirely been filling the gap with tuition increases/out-of-state student increases. So isn’t this more of a zero-sum game than ever before?

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