By Aram Ghoogasian

When it raised its minimum wage to $15, the University of California signaled that it valued its workers. Senate Bill 376, however, is testing just how dedicated the University really is.

The bill proposes that contracted workers at the UC earn the same wages and benefits as University workers who do similar work. Some student leaders and editorial boards from Sacramento to Los Angeles find issue with the fact that the bill is unfunded and are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to veto it.

They may be fighting an uphill battle since SB 376 passed the state Senate with a 60 percent vote in favor and passed the state Assembly with nearly 64 percent. Brown also has a record-low veto record. These percentages indicate the bill is likely to pass.

The UC estimates that the bill will cost somewhere between $48 million and $60 million, far more than the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3299 union’s $9 million projection. The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the bill’s author, projected the cost to be under $66 million. The University has been vocal in its opposition but has remained silent on alternative courses of action should the bill become law.

The UC needs to be prepared should the bill be signed in its current form – and the numbers indicate it will. The University must shift money around in its existing budget to cover the cost rather than rely on students for additional revenue as some fear it might do. Expensive administrative costs are a good place to start.

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[Source]: Daily Bruin