Public education supporters describe Vergara lawsuit as “meritless”

A California Appeals Court on February 25 heard oral arguments on Vergara v. California, a lawsuit that threatens to undermine the teaching profession and public education in the state of California.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) in a statement called it “a meritless lawsuit” initiated by charter school advocates who want to privatize public education.

The plaintiff’s’ suit questions the constitutionality of sections of the state Education Code that have been in effect in one form or another since 1921.

Specifically, the suit seeks to abolish the state’s two-year probationary period for teachers, eliminate just cause  protections for teachers no longer on probation, and eliminate seniority as the basis for determining layoffs.

The plaintiffs’ suit was initiated by a group called Students Matter, whose founder is a Silicon Valley multi-millionaire named David Welch.

The suit is backed by charter school advocate groups Student’s First and Parent Revolution and charter school promoter Eli Broad.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) have joined the State of California to defend the sections of the Education Code under attack.

Laura Lacar, a high school teacher and member of CFT, said that the sections under attack protect her from arbitrary and unjust actions by her employer.

“It would be very scary to me, if this lawsuit succeeds, to think that I might not have a job next year, not for anything I’d done in the classroom, but because my principal didn’t like me, or my clothing, or something I’d said,” said Lacar.

Gaby Ibarra, an elementary teacher who belongs to CTA said that the protections now guaranteed by law give her the freedom to be innovative and creative.

“My rights in the classroom are what protect the right of my students to a good education,” said Ibarra.

“Simply put, this lawsuit highlights the wrong problems, proposes the wrong solutions, and follows the wrong process,” said CTA in its statement.

A local judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs finding that sections of the state’s Education Code that provide a moderate amount of job security to teachers is unconstitutional.

Prior to the February 25 appeals hearing, civil rights groups, constitutional law professors, school board officials, and labor unions filed friend of the court briefs challenging the lower court’s ruling.

The friend of the court brief by constitutional scholars states that the lower court’s decision “disregarded well-respected principles” that must be followed when ruling that a law is unconstitutional.

The brief filed by school board officials says that the lower court’s decision “will only make (school) administrators jobs more difficult” because “the decision disregards the beneficial role that the challenged statutes may play in the California education system.”

According to the school board officials, the challenged statutes provide California teachers with a modicum of job security that help attract people to the teaching profession and “provides them with the confidence to teach in innovative ways.”

“If we want to improve education, a critical starting point is to encourage skilled professionals to enter and remain in the profession,” continues the school board officials’ brief. “Measures that make public school teaching an attractive career choice are thus in the interest of public school students; those that make it less attractive are not. The plaintiffs’ elimination of many basic due process protections for teachers will have just that effect, harming students in the long run”

The brief by civil rights group said that education inequality is the result of a lack of adequate funding, not as the plaintiffs argue statutes that ensure fair treatment for teachers.

“Plaintiffs failed to meet their requisite burden of proving that the statutes affording teachers tenure and other related employment protections are causally connected to a deprivation of education that violates students’ constitutional rights,” reads the brief from civil rights groups. . . . “Simply put, the record does not support a finding of causation from the challenged statutes, and ignored other factors, particularly the lack of adequate funding, that impacts the delivery of a constitutional education in California’s most impoverished schools and communities.”

At a media conference outside of the hearing, long-time labor and civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta spoke out against the lawsuit and the group that initiated and financed it.

“I strongly believe in providing all children with equal access to a quality public education, and that starts with having educators who have the professional rights to stand up and speak out for the students in their classrooms,” said Huerta. “All my life I have worked to fight discrimination, uphold the rights of workers and improve social and economic conditions for our students and their families. I am not going to stop now by aligning myself with an organization (Students Matter) that blatantly misrepresents the facts and pushes an agenda to strip workers of their rights for the financial gain of its backers.”

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Graduate workers at Mizzou stage work-in for union recognition

Graduate workers at the Missouri University (MU) on February 24 occupied the university’s administration building to press their demand that they be recognized as university employees with collective bargaining rights.

Dozens of graduate workers, who belong to the Coalition of Graduate Workers (CGW), filed into MU’s Jesse Hall, occupied public space in the building, and began performing the duties that MU pays them to do.

They called their action a work-in.

“The work of graduate employees tends to happen out of the public eye,” said CGW co-chair Eric Scott to the Kansas City Star. “Today, we are bringing our labor out into the open.”

CGW has been trying to organize a union for MU’s 2700 graduate students, who teach classes, conduct research, and assist tenured faculty.

The union drive recently ran into an obstacle. The University of Missouri System’s vice president for human resources said that graduate workers would not be recognized as university employees without legal action requiring MU to do so.

During the work-in graduate workers taught classes, graded papers, tutored students, and performed other tasks that are part of their daily routine.

“We want to make our labor visible and to remind the (MU System’s governing board) that we aren’t going anywhere, and certainly not silently,” reads a posting announcing the work-in on CGW’s Facebook page.

The union organizing began when the school’s fall semester began. In August MU’s administration announced that graduate workers would no longer receive a stipend for health care coverage.

The news came as a shock to graduate workers as they prepared for the start of the new school year.

The shock turned to anger, and some graduate workers formed a group called the Forum for Graduate Rights (FGR), which began organizing to fight back against the health care cut.

FGR also developed a list of demands to address other problems that graduate workers were facing.

Graduate workers wanted a living wage, not the poverty wage that most are receiving, full health care coverage paid by MU, on-campus child care, affordable housing, a supplemental fees waiver, and immediate action to relieve the burden on international graduate students caused by the decision to eliminate the health care benefit.

When the administration did not respond to the demands, graduate workers staged a one-day walk out to protest the universities inaction.

Over the course of time, FGR’s advocacy resulted in some victories. For one thing, MU backed down on its decision to eliminate health care stipends. It has also been looking for ways to address other graduate worker demands.

But, it became clear to some members of FGR that it wouldn’t be enough only to advocate for progress; they needed power to get the university to work with them as equal partners to address the problems that graduate workers had identified–they needed a union.

Without an enforceable collective bargaining agreement there is no guarantee that the administration will carry through with its promise, said Connor Lewis, co-chair of CGW to the Maneater, MU’s student newspaper.

In October, CGW, a committee of FGR, began holding information sessions on union organizing and collecting signatures on union representation cards.

Despite the System’s decision not to recognize graduate workers as university employees, CGW has continued its union organizing drive.

Sarah Senff, who coordinated the work-in for CGW, told the student newspaper that CGW had begun legal proceedings seeking to get graduate workers recognized as employees.

“The University of Missouri System has chosen to take the hard route, and we are willing to do it that way,” said Senff to the Maneater. “We want to be able to enact our constitutional rights. A collectively bargained contract is the only thing that will make us feel secure in our position at the university.”

Lewis told the Kansas City Star that whether MU or the System recognize graduate workers, CGW plans to conduct a union recognition election by the end of the school year.

“We are going to continue trying to organize,” said Lewis. “We are going to take a vote to form a union regardless of whether the university agrees to participate in the process or not.”

Union retirees fight corporate raid on their pension plan

Retired union members who worked for Western Electric, Lucent Technologies, and/or Alcatel-Lucent have spent February trying to stop a corporate raid on their pension fund.

The retired workers, who belong to the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have been writing letters to Congress, holding demonstrations, and getting the word out about a transfer of assets from their pension fund that took place in November.

Alcatel-Lucent transferred the retirees’ assets to complete a merger deal with Nokia, the Finnish telecom hardware manufacturer.

“Nokia recently purchased Alcatel-Lucent,” reads a letter that the retirees sent to members of Congress. “Positioning themselves for the acquisition, the company moved 20,000 retirees and $3 billion in assets from the workers’ pension plan to their underfunded, mismanaged management pension plan.”

While they were working, the union retirees built telecom equipment first for Western Electric, a subsidiary of the original AT&T.

When a federal judge ordered the dissolution the original AT&T because it was a monopoly, Western Electric spun off and together with Bell Labs became Lucent Technologies, which in 2006 was purchased by Alcatel, a French company.

The new company renamed itself Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia in April 2015 began the process of buying Alcatel-Lucent.

The underfunded managers’ pension fund was a stumbling block for the completion of the deal.

Nokia was spending $16.6 billion to purchase Alcatel-Lucent. To convince Wall Street that the purchase was a good deal, Nokia had to promise among other things that the merger would result in $1 billion in cost savings by 2019.

Shoring up an unfunded pension fund with company funds would be sending the wrong message to Wall Street, so Nokia, which was advised by JP Morgan during the acquisition negotiations, and Alcatel-Lucent agreed that Alcatel-Lucent would take care of the problem.

In November, Alcatel-Lucent shifted $3 billion worth of assets from the Lucent Technologies Pension Plan (LTPP), the union retirees’ plan, into its underfunded pension plan for managers.

Unlike the managers’ pension fund, the union retirees’ pension was fully funded and, in fact, had excess funds.

CWA and IBEW reacted immediately by filing a petition in federal court for a temporary restraining order to prevent the transfer.

The judge denied the petition, but the unions filed suit in December to reverse the transfer.

In the meantime, the unions have been organizing a campaign to raise public awareness about the raid.

Most recently, the retirees held demonstrations to publicize the raid on their pensions.

At a demonstration in Omaha near the site of a former Western Electric plant, retirees told Omaha.com that the raid on their pensions was unfair.

“Theirs is running dry, and now they want to make it up by taking from us,” said Ray Sempek, a retired Western Electric worker to Omaha.com.

 

At a demonstration in Columbus, Ohio, Cloyce Myers said that the raid puts his pension plan at risk.

“I don’t like it all,” said Myers to the Columbus Dispatch. “They’re taking $3 billion out of our pension. . . . That’s jeopardizing our pension, our health insurance and our death benefits.”

As Myers points out, the health of the pension plan isn’t the retirees’ only concern.

“Years ago, CWA and Lucent management worked together to change the law and make it possible to use excess pension funds to help cover retiree health care costs,” said Lisa Bolton, CWA vice president for Telecommunications and Technologies.

CWA’s and Alcatel-Lucent’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires in 2019, and a stand-alone agreement between the union and the company both allow for excess pension funds to be used to  subsidize retiree health care benefits.

But transferring funds out of the LTPP puts the health care subsidies and other benefits in jeopardy.

“The transfers, if allowed to proceed, would result in a significant reduction of the amount of excess funding of the LTPP, . . . (which) jeopardizes the ability of the Company to continue subsidizing promised post-retirement health benefits,” reads the union’s suit challenging the transfer of funds.

The transfer will lead to the “likely reduction, or eventual loss, of retiree health subsidies,” continues the suit.

 

The company should be using its own funds to shore up its other underfunded pension plan. said Bolton  “Instead,  Alcatel-Lucent wants workers and retirees to make those contributions. It’s the worst kind of corporate raiding.”

Chicago walk-ins demonstrate solidarity for public education

Members of the Chicago Teachers Union, parents, students, and community supporters on February 17 rallied before school started at nearly 200 Chicago schools.

When the school day began, those at the rallies walked to the schools together to show their support for the union’s proposals for improving Chicago’s public schools.

The purpose of the walk-ins said a CTU flyer announcing the event was to show that “we stand together to tell the mayor that bankers cannot profit while schools are cut. We demand sustainable revenue solutions for the quality education that (Chicago Public Schools) students deserve.”

CTU is currently negotiating with Chicago’s Board of Education, which is appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for a new collective bargaining agreement.

In the negotiations, the union is demanding smaller class sizes, relief from unnecessary paperwork that interferes with teaching, adequate time for lesson preparation, and services that students and their families need.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is facing a budget deficit of $500 million. Mayor Emanuel and his board of education want to address the deficit by laying off teachers, cutting their pay, and increasing their health care payments.

Instead of cuts, the union is proposing better schools and a better way to pay for them.

One of the union’s proposals is for the city to use unspent money in its Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) accounts to fund public education.

Over the years, the city has diverted billions of dollars in tax revenue, including revenue for public education, into TIF accounts to subsidize developers’ economic redevelopment projects.

The TIF Illumination Project has reported that the city’s TIF bank accounts have $1.4 billion in unspent money.

CTU in its contract negotiations is proposing that $700 million of this unspent TIF money be redirected back into CPS’ budget.

The union is also proposing that CPS and the city take legal action to recover some of the $500 million that the school district has paid in bank fees to predatory lenders.

With this and other revenue sources that the union has proposed, CPS could afford to make the improvements to education that CTU is proposing without having to cut pay or lay off educators and support staff.

At the walk-in rallies and community meetings held prior to the walk-ins, union members updated parents, teachers, and community members on the status of the union’s negotiations with CPS.

They reported that some progress has been made.

The school board agreed to less standardized testing, work space for speech therapists, nurses, and other clinicians, some paperwork reductions, a freeze on adding new charter schools, and some improvement in teacher evaluation.

The union however, rejected the school board’s proposal because it “had too many ways (for the board) to back out and not follow through with good promises.”

Also, Mayor Emanuel and his school board were not proposing a “sustainable” way to fund public schools.

In addition to using unspent TIF money and recovering fees from predatory lenders, the union is proposing a sustainable education funding structure that includes a progressive income tax, a millionaire’s tax, and a tax on stock trades.

The union also wants to close tax loopholes that divert much needed school funds into corporate coffers.

The success of the February 17 walk-ins in which thousands of Chicagoans demonstrated their solidarity for public education is the result of good organizing work.

The union began planning the walk-ins in January.

At the January meeting of its House of Delegates, the union’s governing body, delegates who represent union members at school building level were asked to take the lead in organizing a walk-in at their schools.

The delegates who volunteered to do so were given packets explaining how to organize the event.

Among other things, the packet included flyers explaining the walk-in that could be handed out to parents and community members.

Delegates were also given information on holding community meetings prior to the walk-ins. Parents, students,and community members living near their schools were invited to these meetings and given an update on the contract negotiations.

At the meetings, union members and those attending the meeting made plans for the walk-in at their schools.

Prior to the walk-ins, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool sent letters to parents describing the walk-ins as a security risk in an apparent attempt to keep parents from supporting the action. He also said that so-called “strangers” would be stopped from entering the schools.

But the scare tactics didn’t work.

Even though, school security staff prevented some parents and community members from walking into their schools, the participation by thousands was a clear show of support for the teachers and their demands for improved public education.

“This is our best one,” said Gabriel Sheridan, a teacher at Ray Elementary to the Chicago Tribune. “We’ve done it before and I think people are coming because they really do see the need to support the whole movement. It’s not just in Chicago, it’s all over, but we wanted to make sure our tax dollars are appropriately being managed to sustain the schools. It’s an important thing.”

Right to strike on trial in Spain

Chanting, “to strike is not a crime”  and “We are not 8, we are thousands,” five thousand people marched through the streets of Madrid on February 9 in support of the right to strike.

The march took place on the first day of the trial of eight trade unionists who face up to eight years in jail each for participating in a strike.

The Airbus 8 as they have become known were arrested in 2010 during a demonstration at the Airbus factory in Getafe, a suburb of Madrid.

The Airbus 8 were participating in a general strike called by unions to protest the Spanish government’s austerity program.

They and about 500 other Airbus workers  were holding a demonstration outside of the Getafe Airbus factory in support of the general strike.

Also at the factory were the national and local riot police. The police fired live ammunition in the air to disperse the demonstrators.

When the shots were fired panic ensued, and the Airbus 8 were arrested and charged with interfering with the right to work under Article 315.3 of the Spanish penal code.

Article 315.3, implemented while the former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was in power, makes union picketing at a work site an illegal offense punishable by a mandatory prison sentence.

Prior to the arrest of the Airbus 8, the law had not been used since before the death of Franco in 1975.

In addition to the Airbus 8, 300 other Spanish union members have been arrested  and face prison sentence for protesting the country’s austerity measures.

“It is simply unbelievable to be in this situation in 2016,” said Carmelo Ruiz de la Hermosa, general secretary of the UGT-Madrid, one of the unions to which some of the Airbus 8 belonged.

Ruiz said that the austerity measures imposed by the government after the worldwide financial crisis of 2008 have intensified “inequality and poor working conditions.”

He also said that the trial of the Airbus 8 is part of a “legal and media offensive against trade unionism” which seeks to  silence voices that oppose the government’s austerity policies.

Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, general secretary of CCOO, another union to which some of the Airbus 8 belong, said that forty years ago strikes played an important role in weakening Franco’s oppressive dictatorship and helped to usher in democracy.

“(Strikes were) an advance not just for working class but for the entire society,” said Fernández

Cándido Méndez , secretary general of UGT, said that Spain is facing an “economic and social emergency” and called for the repeal of Article 315.3.

Spanish trade unionists aren’t the only ones who recognize the importance of protecting the right to strike.

“The attempts by Spanish authorities to silence trade unions and intimidate workers are a sad step backwards for democracy,” said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL, an international confederation of unions in the manufacturing sector.

“To strike is not a crime and to be a trade unionist is not a crime – so why are the authorities pursuing this legal action?” asked Luca Visentini, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation. 

Visentini also noted that trade unions and the right to strike are under attack in other countries besides Spain. As an example, he cited the United Kingdom where Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed the Trade Union Bill, which the UK’s Trade Union Congress says, “threatens the basic right to strike.”

The Airbus 8 and other workers facing prosecution for participating in a strike received some good news on February 10 when a court in Malaga located in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain acquitted two trade unionist, Lola Villalba, the general secretary of the CCOO Services Union of Malaga, and Gonzalo Fuentes, a member of the regional executive committee of the Services Union.

They had been charged with violating Spain’s labor laws after participating in a 2012 general strike against the country’s austerity measures.

“The acquittal of Lola and Gonzalo is a recognition by the Malaga court of the right to strike,” said Philip Jennings, general secretary of UNI, a global union representing 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions worldwide.

Jennings noted that despite this one victory, some Spanish union members are still in prison for striking and many others are facing the possibility of spending time in prison for striking.

“This attack on the Spanish unions is symptomatic of a wave of anti-union measures being touted by right wing governments from the UK to Finland,” said Jennings. “We will follow the example of our Spanish unions and not give in.”

Uber drivers in NYC petition for a union election

Uber drivers at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking a union representation election.

The workers want to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1430.

The petition for union representation came after Uber imposed a 15 percent fare cut.

Local 1430 organizers have been talking to some Uber drivers at LaGuardia for the past year about organizing a union, but the fare cut ignited outrage among drivers that set the union representation process in motion.

Jordan El-Hag, Local 1430 business manager, said that drivers wanted a voice on the job.

“Uber’s imposing changes unilaterally and (the drivers) want to have a say, said El-Hag to the International Business Times. “It’s about having a say over their livelihood.”

Uber recently announced fare cuts in 100 cities in the US and Canada. The cuts range from 15 percent to 45 percent.

The cuts caused some Uber drivers to walk off the job in New York and San Francisco.

In New York, 600 Uber drivers demonstrated at Uber’s New York City headquarters to protest the fare cuts.

Tsering Serpa, an Uber driver, told the New York Times that because of the fare cut, he will have to work 10 to 14 hours a day. Serpa told the Times that before the fare cut went into effect, he was working eight hours a day six days a week.

“New York City just keeps getting more and more expensive,” said Sherpa to the Times. “How are we supposed to survive on less money?”

The New York demonstration was organized by the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance.

There are about 30,000 Uber drivers in New York City, but rather than trying to organize all of them at once, Local 1430 decided to organize a small group of drivers that share a community of interests.

Uber drivers at La Guardia learned that in order to pick up fares at the airport, they needed to stay in close proximity to it. As a result, they began gathering at the same airport parking lot waiting for dispatches from Uber.

The parking lot became a de facto work site, said El-Hag to the International Business Times.

Even though Uber has not responded publicly to the petition, it is certain that the company will challenge it before the NLRB.

As it has in the past, Uber will likely argue that its drivers are independent contractors and therefore have no rights to form unions and bargain collectively.

But a recent ruling by an NLRB regional office in Arizona could have some impact on how the NLRB rules.

NLRB Region 28 Director Cornele Overstreet recently rejected arguments by Tucson Yellow Cab that its drivers are independent contractors.

Overstreet wrote that independent contractors must have “actual entrepreneurial opportunity for loss or gain,” but Yellow Cab sets fare rates and controls other facets of the job that limit entrepreneurial opportunity.

Consequently, Overstreet ruled that a union election take place at Yellow Cab.

Local 1430 is hoping for the same result at LaGuardia.

The fact that an IBEW local ended up helping LaGuardia Uber drivers organize is an interesting story in itself.

At one time, Local 1430 represented workers in New York City’s electrical manufacturing industry, but most of those jobs have been moved out of the city.

Instead of fading away, Local 1430 decided to reinvent itself. It became a self-described organizing local.

“Seventy percent of our time and resources are spent organizing,” said El-Hag to The Electrical Worker. “The rest of the time is devoted to servicing existing units. This is the reverse of many locals.”

“All of our business agents act as organizers,” continued El-Hag. “Our goal is for each business agent to organize 100 new members each year. We conduct staff meetings each week to review targets. Our guys are on the street every day making contact with workers inside and outside industries we are focusing on. Even as they service locals, agents stay busy in the mornings, afternoons and evenings visiting workplaces to collect organizing contacts and information.”

Local 1430 represents workers at about 40 companies throughout New York City and surrounding  areas.

The organizing culture at Local 1430 led its organizers to make contact with some Uber drivers at LaGuardia.

When the fare cuts set off a spontaneous demonstration by Uber drivers, Local 1430 organizers began collecting signatures on union authorization cards, the first step toward getting the NLRB to hold a union election.

Three days later, Local 1430 petitioned the NLRB for an election.

A lot will be riding on the final outcome of this organizing drive. If successful, it could change the way that Uber and other sharing economy businesses treat their workers.

Unions protest shared services layoffs at UC Berkeley

Union members at the University of California Berkeley (UC) on February 4 delivered a petition to UC leaders urging them to stop the layoffs of 28 employees who work for the university’s Campus Shared Services.

Campus Shared Services (CSS) is a centralized administrative unit that provides academic support services such as information technology, human resources, finance, and research administration to faculty and students.

The idea of centralizing administrative service at UC first surfaced in 2010 when a consulting firm called Bain & Company recommended doing so.

Bain & Company estimated that centralizing administrative support services could save UC between $12 million and $15 million a year.

UC leaders said that they needed to find ways to save money because state funding was declining.

In 2013, UC began implementing CSS.

Almost as soon as UC decided to centralize support services, unions representing campus workers warned that doing so would lead to layoffs and diminished services.

CSS was implemented gradually. Full implementation was finally complete in March 2015.

In November, the first layoff notices were sent out, and the University Professional and Technical Employees CWA Local 9119 and Teamsters Local 2010, which represent the laid off workers, began a campaign to stop the layoffs.

On February 4, members of both unions demonstrated in front of UC’s administration building and delivered the petition to a representative of UC Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

The petition said that centralized shared services had not delivered the efficiencies that the consultants had predicted and that “cutting jobs at CSS won’t eliminate the problems we all know exist with CSS, it will only make them worse.”

Those at the February 4 demonstration had the same message,

“Layoffs (are) not really going to solve the problem of making workloads more efficient, which is what CSS was created to do,” said Alicia Flores, an administrative assistant at UC, who took part in a union sponsored demonstration.

Before CSS was implemented some faculty also warned that centralizing support services would create inefficiencies rather than efficiencies.

Their warnings proved to be prescient.

The Daily Californian reports that a 2014 survey of faculty found that half were spending more time on routine matters previously performed by support staff.

According to Panos Papadopoulos, chair of the Academic Senate, survey responses about the performance of CSS were “overwhelmingly negative.”

Sam Davis, professor emeritus of architecture, in a 2015 blog post laid out some of the problems that centralized shared services created.

For one thing, writes Davis, “Placing 600 University employees on 4th Street (two miles from campus) was problematic from the beginning.”

“Separating the management and administration from its academic and intellectual enterprise undermines a main motivation for employees, creates a caste system, and limits collaborative problem solving. We are not making widgets,” writes Davis.

Davis also notes that the separation of CSS support staff from the campus has created more work for staff who remain on campus because interfacing with CSS is so difficult.

Problems created by CSS have, according to Davis, caused some schools and colleges at UC to hire additional staff despite tight budgets.

Davis goes on to write that “it is unclear whether CSS is saving money, but I doubt it.”

“Savings must be offset against the cost of purchasing and operating the new building,” which according to Davis cost $24 million.

In fact the original cost savings estimated by Bain & Company to be $12 million to $15 million a year were subsequently scaled back to about $6 million a year.

In 2014, reported cost savings amounted to $2.1 million.

An opinion piece appearing in the Daily Californian put the implementation of CSS at UC in a much wider context.

According to the opinion piece’s authors, centralized shared services is being implemented on other campuses and in the private sector “across the US economy.”

The effect has been the deskilling and division of  work in order to save money. The cost savings rarely end up resulting in better services, but they do benefit those at the top of the organization.

“The benefits of ‘streamlining,’ ‘efficiencies’ and the like ultimately accrue to the of upper-level managers, who are rewarded for perceived cost-savings at the expense of quality of service,” write the authors, Dan Russell, who works in CSS, Jean Day, the president UPTE, and Lyn Hejinian, a John F. Hotchkis professor of English at UC.

UPTE and Local 2010 said that the petition urging the administration to halt the layoffs is only the first step in the fight to stop the layoffs and prevent future layoffs.

Local 2010 has filed two grievances charging that the layoffs have violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement with UC.

“UC faculty, staff and students have a vested interest in standing together with workers at CSS for a university that serves all our interests — and those of the vast majority of Californians — not simply those of the few who stand to profit from a leaner, less effective and frankly demoralized group of campus workers,” write Russell, Day, and Hejinian.