University of California regents voted Monday to push back the retirement age by five years for future employees and to reduce their contributions to retiree health care from 89% to 70% by 2018. UC President Mark Yudof said that the changes were a “de facto pay cut” for everyone. However, the plan will most significantly impact the system’s lowest paid workers.
Many of those affected are custodians and gardeners who do debilitating and career shortening stoop labor. They worry that they won’t be able to work long enough to enjoy retirement benefits because the nature of their work causes so many career-ending back, knee and shoulder injuries.
The plan still requires approval from the 42% of the UC employees who are unionized. Many plan to oppose it and they should. This is another example of the state of California squeezing workers to pay for the mistakes and greed of the richest members of society. Rather than increasing taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, the legislators continue to cut education funding and impose austerity on the rest of us.