Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Arnold Zeros Labor Center

Nurse speaking out against Arnold

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gov. Arnold congratulated himself on his bipartisanship in signing California's budget yesterday; no mention of his crashing poll approval numbers which certainly encouraged him to make partial peace with the Democratic legislature.

No mention either that he had used his line item veto power to eliminate funding for two University of California labor research centers.

The $3.8 million cut will eliminate about 70 percent of the centers' funding, said Katie Quan, chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. There is also a branch at UCLA.

The centers, strongly supported by Democrats, hold workshops on how to increase union membership, get more at the bargaining table and fight globalization. They sponsor research on a range of workplace topics, from sex discrimination and health care to the role of unions in the economy.

The Labor Center is the source of recent reports on the costs of Wal-Mart's low wage jobs to local jurisdictions and on the trend projecting showing that job-based health care coverage will exist for only fifty percent of workers by 2010. And it doesn't just do research; it also provides mentoring and training for union leaders and members, community organizations, and UC students -- something a large university should do as a major provider of education to the WHOLE community. They have a specific focus on the "new" workforce--people of color, immigrants, and women. All of this is not being provided elsewhere in the California education system.

The rightwing Claremont Institute is crowing:

Governor Vetoes "Union U" Funding. . . They're not Ward Churchill but a lot more effective in promoting the programs of the left. If we took a closer look at public higher education in California, many more dubious programs would come to light, and we haven't even begun to talk about the anthropology departments.

In a letter to supporters, the Center's director and Board write: "Discussions with legislative leadership are on-going. We will also continue to press our case that this work deserves full support from the University's other resources, which have grown considerably this year." The Labor Center was the only University item subjected to the line item veto this year!

UPDATE: On July 14, the Governator announced that he was going to press the University of California to fully fund the Labor Center. See here. Huh? He cut their funding by mistake?
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