We don’t care for them if they don’t pay union dues, do we?
California’s ongoing state budget crisis has claimed another victim: student state workers. In a few weeks the state will ax hundreds of their jobs – just as the school year gets under way.
Meanwhile, the state’s university systems have hiked tuition and will probably do it again if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal on November’s ballot.
And with job prospects for young adults more scarce than for other age groups, students such as Sacramento State junior Amber Amey aren’t sure what they’ll do.
“I don’t really have a plan yet, because we were just informed about this,” Amey said last week during a break from her job in California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s call center. “It stinks.”
Amey’s post and those of about 1,600 state student assistants will soon be the collateral damage of a labor deal struck last month to help close a $15.7 billion budget deficit.
Brown and the state’s largest public employees union, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, agreed the 95,000 state workers it represents would take 12 unpaid days off through next June 30 in exchange for, among other things, purging the state payroll of student assistants as of Sept. 1.
Student assistants generally work part-time schedules, make less than permanent workers and get no benefits. They perform a range of duties, from answering phones to gathering scientific samples in the field.
The state paid them a total of $13.4 million last year, or about 9 cents of every $1,000 spent on employee wages, according to a Bee review of payroll data from the state controller’s office. Their average annual pay: $8,500.
Still, state student-assistant jobs are an easy target in tight budget times. They’re not covered by union agreements, receive no benefits and have no protections.
I’m not saying these kids’ jobs shouldn’t be axed. I just want you to remember this story the next time the lefties talk about how important higher education is, and how important it is to create jobs, especially government jobs, so people can afford higher education, or speak in similar platitudes.