Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a Senate bill Friday that would have required the University of California to pay contracted workers the same wages and benefits as existing University-hired employees.
The bill, proposed by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) in April, would have also raised total compensation for contracted employees to match that of the UC employees who perform comparable work at the relevant campus, medical center or laboratory.
Earlier this month, UC President Janet Napolitano sent a letter to Brown urging him to veto the bill. The University predicted the bill would cost between $48 and $60 million annually, although the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299, which represents UC service workers and patient care workers, claimed the bill would cost about $9 million annually.
In the letter vetoing the bill, Brown said he thinks the University has already started to move in the direction of improving wage and contracting practices, citing its plan to increase minimum wage for employees and contract workers to $15 an hour by 2017.
In the letter, however, Brown urged the University to provide a transparent accounting of its contracts to show how interests of low-income workers are protected.
Undergraduate student government External Vice President Zach Helder, who opposed the bill, said he thinks the unfunded bill unfairly pitted students against workers, and would have complicated the provisions of the budget deal signed by Brown and Napolitano.
“The bill put the rights of workers against the cost of student tuition,” Helder said.
Kathryn Lybarger, president of the AFSCME 3299 union, said in an email statement the union will further increase its efforts to urge the University to improve its transparency and public reporting around worker practices.
Lybarger added the union will continue to demand that the UC increase the wages of full-time contracted workers.
Compiled by Shreya Maskara, Bruin senior staff.