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The University of California is a public utility and taxpayers deserve the services they deserve

The University of California is a public utility and taxpayers deserve the services they deserve

Letters to the Editor: UC defends its contract offer in labor talks to avert a strike

By Tom Hall, Managing Editor

Posted: 06/05/2013 03:01:00 AM EDT

Updated: 06/05/2013 04:01:00 AM EDT

What is it about UC?

The University of California is not a public utility or an education facility.

But it is being charged with the task of administering the state’s taxpayers’ money and educating its students and citizens.

The governor and some in the state Legislature have argued that the UC should not be allowed to impose a contract on its employees during the negotiations over the fate of a strike deadline.

And so the university’s representatives are offering the state a “significant” contract extension and some other concessions, including more money for retirement, health insurance and benefits.

The state and UC both are looking for ways to resolve their dispute without a strike. The clock is ticking. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement on a new contract, then workers can walk out during the next two weeks.

The administration insists that it has no power to force a contract to the bargaining table and that workers should be given the opportunity to make their own decisions.

It is time to end this dispute and give these students and taxpayers the services they have earned.

Tom Hall is a member of the UC bargaining team. He is on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle.

This is the wrong time to go

It is not that the University of California Board of Regents should not discuss a short-term contract extension during contract negotiations. But, at a time when the state is facing a budget shortfall and has not even begun to tap the state’s rainy-day reserves, it would be the wrong time for the regents to go down this road.

If they could find a way to provide relief for students, faculty, staff and all the other members of this university community, I would fully support an extension. But what is coming from the university is a message that it has no control over any issues, and that is unacceptable.

This is the time to talk about the core mission of a university, which is to educate students

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