UCPath payroll system launches on campus amid opposition from UC Student-Workers Union

Matthew Gibson/Staff

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The UC system launched its payroll system UCPath at UC Berkeley on Sunday.

UC employees on campus will receive their first UCPath paycheck this week, according to a statement from UCPath program director Cristina Jacobson.

The launch comes with opposition from the UC Student-Workers Union, or UAW Local 2865, because many UC employees at other campuses that have implemented the new payroll system — UC Riverside, UC Merced, UC Santa Barbara and UCLA — have reported missing or miscalculated paychecks.

In February, UC Berkeley student workers delivered a letter to Chancellor Carol Christ outlining their demands regarding UCPath. After a UCPath protest at UC Riverside, UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email that campus representatives intended to meet with UAW Local 2865 regarding their concerns with the new program.

Campus graduate student and UAW Local 2865 President Kavitha Iyengar said that during the meeting, the university was very intent on assuring student workers that UCPath would be better for them than it had been on other campuses. Iyengar attended the meeting with a UC representative and walked away feeling that she had a better sense of how UCPath was going to be implemented, but not how the UC was going to lessen the problems reported at the other campuses.

“It makes a difference to the students when the university shows that it cares and when it recognizes that it’s their duty, but it doesn’t inspire faith when these things aren’t already taken care of,” Iyengar said.

Campus graduate student and UAW Local 2865 delegate for the Alameda Labor Council Layne Frechette also expressed concern regarding how the problem of late paychecks with UCPath will affect graduate students, given the amount of work they do and how little they are paid.

“We have our union membership going out today and we’re checking with students to make sure everyone has been paid,” Frechette said. “If not, we just recently reached an agreement with the university to essentially pay students who did not receive their paychecks on time a fee to make up for that loss.”

According to UC Office of the President spokesperson Claire Doan, UCPath has come up with other ways to improve itself by engaging with student associations. Doan said in an email that campuses are using loaded pay cards and same day/overnight checks as solutions for impacted students, enhancing communication with students with respect to how quickly they can get help with pay issues and are implementing more comprehensive training for those dealing with transactions.

“No new systemwide upgrade of this magnitude and complexity is without problems, many of which can only be identified and addressed after the system is live and operational,” Doan said in an email. “We will continue to apply lessons learned and best practices from previous implementations, and continue to do our best in quickly identifying and resolving problems.”

Contact Megha Krishnan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @_meghakrishnan_.