A day after University of California Regent David Crane penned an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle calling for an end to collective bargaining for public sector employees, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) condemned the remarks as a direct attack on working families.
“I thought we had already seen the height of arrogance by UC Regents,” said Yee. “It is time for Regent Crane to put away his Wisconsin playbook and come down from his ivory tower.”
“While the Regents have approved million dollar contracts for their top administrators, they allow many UC workers and their families to live in poverty,” said Yee.
“Now, Regent Crane wants to take away their only avenue to earning a livable wage and a respectable retirement – their collective bargaining rights.”
For UC service workers, wages are as low as $13 an hour and 96 percent are income eligible for at least one of the following public assistance programs: food stamps, WIC (women, infants, and children), public housing subsidies, and reduced lunch. Many work two or three jobs to meet their families’ basic needs.
At the same time, the UC Board of Regents has consistently provided double-figure raises to their top administrators.
The latest example is a “retention salary adjustment” for UCLA Medical Center CEO David Feinberg. Feinberg’s salary was recently increased by an additional $160,300 per year to $900,000. The Regents also voted to award him an additional $250,000 annual retention bonus.
With his annual Medical Center incentive payment, Feinberg's annual compensation is now $1,330,000 per year. UC President Mark Yudof also pulls in seven figures with his salary, housing, and benefits.
Crane argues in his op-ed that “collective bargaining for public employees in California changed the balance of power and - most importantly - gave public employees power over their compensation and benefits.”
“The only public employees at the UC that have any real power over their compensation are the top executives,” said Yee.
“The Regents consistently cater to the elite and ignore their unionized workers – nurses, janitors, technicians, bus drivers, teaching assistants, and others. Collective bargaining is vital in addressing this disparity and fighting the unconscionable acts of UC administrators.”
Crane, a resident of San Francisco, was appointed to the Board of Regents by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (RLos Angeles) during his final days in office. Crane awaits confirmation by the Senate this year.
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