AP Voices: Administrative professionals organizing for change
December 15, 2015
Downsizing at UC
Shared Services, IT integration/reorganization, downsizing, and outsourcing are grim aspects of UC management's continuing attempts to run our university as a business. This approach requires employees to produce more with fewer resources, compromising UC's education, research, and public service missions.

In 2012, UPTE warned of the coming “efficiencies,” and we are seeing the results. IT services at UCSD are being “integrated” and UPTE-represented staff as well as Administrative Professionals are affected. At UCSF there are rumors that the IT services will be outsourced completely! At UC Berkeley, Shared Services has just seen its first round of layoffs as budgets were slashed in order to obtain its promised “efficiencies.” Here is a report by a UCB Administrative Professional:

"After months of ominous talk about budget woes, staff at Berkeley's Campus Shared Services (CSS), located off campus at the 4th Street building purchased by UCB at great expense, finally saw the word they'd been dreading: layoffs.

It came on November 6th in the form of a vaguely worded email from Peggy Huston, who took over as Chief Operational Officer (COO) of CSS just a year ago, which indicated that only "high performers" (an undefined term, mentioned three times) would have a place in the "new, smaller CSS."

28 staff were laid off in early December, only weeks before the winter holidays. Some CSS staff are represented by the Teamsters and UPTE, but the majority are unrepresented Administrative Professionals, without the same right to layoff by seniority that represented staff have. All three groups are standing in solidarity, circulating petitions, and continuing to fight the layoffs.

We will need the solidarity of all campus workers to advocate for alternatives; whether that means returning staff to campus, selling the 4th Street facility to recoup the huge financial investment, reducing management staff and/or salaries, and giving workers more say in the work process, or a combination of all of these things."

Administrative Professionals are in the direct line of fire when UC reorganizes/consolidates staff because without union representation we are the most vulnerable to favoritism and retaliation. We are all for technology that makes our work more efficient and promotes the missions of UC but we must resist the imposition of speed-ups and business practices that reduce our ability to do our jobs.  Consolidating and outsourcing services only serve to undermine UC’s missions, eliminate jobs, and provide lower quality and less responsive services.

Let us begin to be part of the solution rather than be overwhelmed by the problem: Sign an UPTE card today, talk with your AP co-workers about doing so, attend an organizing meeting--you could be acting to save your job and the missions of the University.
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