Yudof Grants Funds to UC Labor Programs Following State Cuts

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University of California President Mark Yudof approved $4 million in temporary funding for labor centers and labor education programs at UC Berkeley and UCLA last week after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed funding for the same programs in the 2008-09 state budget.

Yudof promised to restore labor funding using university funds in September, shortly after Schwarzenegger line-item vetoed the funds in a move criticized as partisan by labor representatives.

The approved amount, which will come from university discretionary funds, is $1.4 million less than the $5.4 million originally vetoed by the governor. After a 10 percent budget cut across the board in this year's budget, the program's funding had already been cut from $6 million to $5.4 million.

Chris Tilly, director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, said the funds that were not being restored this year would have supported system-wide labor programs, including those on the eight campuses that do not have labor centers.

"What's been cut, unfortunately, is a set of campus programs-the labor and employment research fund and the labor studies development fund-which were available all across the 10 campuses," he said. "It was part of the original veto by Schwarzenegger and the University of California decided not to reinstitute it."

The approved funds will not cover grants for graduate students research, faculty research and classroom programs at the other eight campuses.

UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said the university hopes to receive the full $6 million usually allocated to labor research and education from the state's 2009-10 budget, which will take effect next academic year.

Camille Anderson, a spokesperson for the governor, said the university's decision to provide temporary funding for labor programs will not be a factor in next year's budget.

"(The university) determines how best to determine discretionary funding, so it's their decision," Anderson said. "How they decide to fund this program now will not affect how the state funds them in the future."

Katie Quan, associate chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, said the September veto was politically motivated, and that the governor could veto similar funding again in the future.

"It was the only item in the entire budget that was line-itemed out, so you have to ask the question­­-why was only our item vetoed?" Quan said. "The only answer that makes sense is that it was a political attack on labor."

She was also concerned that the state would not reinstate labor funding, especially now that the governor has declared California to be in a state of fiscal emergency.

"It's going to be a year when lots of budget items become contentious because of the economic arena in California," she said. "I think our issue and lots of other issues are going to be very highly contested."


Contact Kat Murti at [email protected]

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