On Monday, University of California Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks announced that the educational institution will be eliminating 500 jobs over the course of two years, which will wind up saving an estimated $50 million.
“My concern and the public’s concern is that UC Berkeley is going to start cutting the people it can ill afford to lose — the people who clean buildings, who work in food services or health clinics,” Todd Stenhouse, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents workers at Berkeley, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Berkeley employs about 8,500 staffers, from custodians to administrators, the Chronicle notes. Faculty members will not be affected by the employment reductions, which will take place through attrition.
Departments on campus were reportedly also told to reduce their budgets by 10 percent in whatever way they wish.
In the past, left-wing student activists at UC Berkeley have joined unions in pushing for higher wages, including a “living wage,” for campus staff. Campus minimum wages have lagged behind local minimum wages because the university, as a public state institution, is exempt from local minimums.
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