UC Berkeley greets $15 minimum wage with job cuts

The ripples from California’s recent passage of a $15 per hour minimum wage continue to spread across the employment pond. We’ve already seen how it will hit the food service and hotel industries, but one of the most ironic examples of the law of unintended but perfectly predictable consequences may wind up coming from the University of California at Berkeley. With a hat tip to Legal Insurrection, we find that the traditional hotbed for Social Justice Warrior protests – including the Fight for 15 crowd – is going to be feeling the pinch in short order. And it won’t be the well heeled, tenured professors and administrators who will be paying the price. (San Francisco Gate)


Financially troubled UC Berkeley will eliminate 500 staff jobs over two years to help balance its budget by 2019-20, The Chronicle has learned.

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a memo to employees Monday informing them of the job reductions and said they will amount to “a modest reduction of 6 percent of our staff workforce.”…

An estimated $50 million will be saved by eliminating the jobs, Dirks said in the memo, which offered few details.

The news was greeted with anger by some labor union leaders, who criticized Berkeley and the entire UC for what they say is excessive spending on executive salaries at the expense of lower-paid workers.

Oh, yes.. the labor union leaders are upset. Really? Berkeley isn’t even mentioning the real reason for cutting back on the folks who clean the floors, tend the lawns, empty the trash and serve the food, but those on staff are already well aware of what’s driving the decision. As Justin Holcomb reports at Town Hall, the university was already running on a thin margin and they can’t absorb the increased labor costs associated with the new minimum wage law.

The $15 minimum wage hike in California has sent financially troubled UC Berkeley into decision making mode, and “the people who clean buildings, who work in food services or health clinics,” says Todd Stenhouse, will be the ones without a job.

Stenhouse, a spokesman for the American Federation of StateChancellor, also said “There’s a very clear need for those front-line services. But the question is whether there really is a need to hemorrhage resources on executives.”


For those still undecided in this debate among liberals and moderates, Berkeley will likely stand out as the perfect microcosm which demonstrates the “liberal values” driving many of these SJW movements. The loudest proponents for such changes are the intellectual leaders on the left who claim to be fighting for the people. That group certainly includes the professors and chief administrators in academia. But when it comes time to tighten the purse and cut costs you won’t be seeing any of those professors packing their desks up in cardboard boxes and heading for the parking lot. They have tenure and the power of the institution keeping them on the gravy train. Instead it will be the working men and women who take care of all the dirty work (and were supposed to be the beneficiaries of these theories) who will wind up on the unemployment line.

Best of luck to all the hourly workers at Berkeley. I’m sure the climate there is lovely but you might want to consider relocating to a right to work state. Your odds of remaining employed will certainly improve.


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