The University of California has been negotiating with a postdoctoral union over many issues of compensation. Unsurprisingly one of their favorite tactics when dealing with student / transient employee concerns is to delay.
The postdocs have an interesting set of allies, namely George Miller (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) of the House Education and Labor Committee.
Science Careers blog notes:
three Bay area Congressional representatives faxed a letter to Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress's investigative arm in matters concerning public funds. They ask the agency to look into "how universities, including the University of California, track how funds provided for laboratory research grants are spent." ...UC has cited a purported inability to determine "the costs of proposals to increase the compensation" of postdocs as a reason for negotiating delays, the letter continues. The inexplicable difficulty of one of the world's great research institution to figure out how much it pays its own employees "raises serious questions" about UC's--and possibly other universities'--ability to track research funds in general, the letter goes on.
The not-very-veiled implication appears to be that UC might find it less unpleasant to settle with the postdocs than to tangle with the committee. With the next negotiating meeting scheduled for Wednesday, the next installment of the saga may be about to play out.
hahaha. Yeah, I dunno about that. I wonder if Congress can lay a finger on the accountant magickery that disposes of overhead funds.