Tuesday 4/12: Teach-in on so-called “benefits decentralization”

A few of our comrades in AWDU put together the following letter promoting tomorrow’s teach-in on benefits decentralization, the UCB administration’s latest assault on campus workers.  We are reproducing it below.  While it is explicitly addressed to members of UAW 2865, we urge all of those interested in the wave of austerity measures now being implemented on our campus to attend.

Dear UAW members,

For over a decade (since unionization, in fact) UC Berkeley’s Campus Budget Office has guaranteed funding to cover the fee remissions and health benefits of graduate students working 25% time or more as GSIs and Readers. However, on April 1st, 2011, Chancellor Birgeneau ended this commitment to fund fee remissions and health benefits. From now on, the Chancellor will look to academic “units to help for increased benefits costs.”1 The Chancellor and his staff deceptively have termed this policy “Benefits Decentralization.”

Join us for a Teach-In about the planned cuts to our fee remissions and health benefits on Tuesday at 12:30 – 1:30 PM the Picnic Tables next to Barrows Hall and Anthony Hall.

What: Teach-In about Cuts to GSI positions and fee remissions
When: Tuesday 12:30 – 1:30 PM
Where: Outside Anthony Hall

Sign the petition to stop the cuts to fee remissions and GSI positions! http://www.ucstudents.org/joinus/save-uc-teachers/

Forcing Departments and Units to Cut Graduate Teaching Positions and Admissions

The financial packages of thousands of graduate students at UC Berkeley depend on fee remissions and health benefits tied to GSI, Reader, and GSR positions. Chancellor Birgeneau’s termination of the Campus Budget Office’s guaranteed funding of these fee remissions and health benefits will force departments and units to make major cuts in teaching positions and graduate admissions because of the soaring fees and health costs – unless those departments can identify new sources of funding for these costs.

The 2011 Allocation for Fee Remissions and Benefits Already Appears Insufficient

Budget Office memos deceptively omit the approximate actual benefit costs for 2010/2011. The actual benefit costs reveal that the 2011/2012 “Permanent Allocation” to academic units will be insufficient. For example, the actual 2010/2011 benefits and fee remission costs for L&S Social Science is estimated to be $16.2 million. The 2011/2012 permanent allocation provides only a 4% increase2. UC is increasing graduate fees by 10% in August and our insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, is increasing rates for individual policy holders by 9.4% on July 1st3. How could academic units possibly cover these costs without cutting GSI, Reader or GSR positions?

Check out coverage in the Daily Cal on our grievance campaign:
http://www.dailycal.org/article/112591/academic_employee_union_files_grievances_

A strong presence at this event will send a message to the administration that we will not accept this policy without a fight. Also, please forward this email to any and all interested parties.

Sincerely,

Amanda Armstrong, Rhetoric, Member
Christopher Miller, English, Member
Megan Wachspress, Jurisprudice and Social Policy, Head Steward
Charlie Eaton, Sociology, Trustee
Jennifer Tucker, City and Regional Planning, Unit Chair

 

1 “UC Berkeley Benefit Decentralization: Summary of Campus Input.” Campus Budget Office. April 5, 2011. Pg. 2.

2 “UC Berkeley Benefits Decentralization: Final Plan.” Campus Budget Office. April 5, 2011. Pg. 8.

3 Helfand, Duke. “Anthem Blue Cross reduces rate increases.” Los Angeles Times. March 21, 2011.


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