Union Builder Communicator: January 29, 2007

UC backs off on employee-only pension contributions; PERB issues
complaint against UC
The governor's budget proposal to the Legislature does not include the $60 million UC needed to fund its portion of a pension fund contribution. While the budget won't be finalized until July 1, UC had been considering requiring an employee (that's us!) contribution before an employer contribution. However, UC backed off and has publicly stated it will not make us pay before it pays, which means that we probably won't be paying July 1- unless, that is, UC comes up with some backroom deal with the governor.

The state labor board, PERB, has issued a complaint against UC stating that it failed to fulfill its legal obligation to allow public input, or "sunshining," of proposed changes to the pension plan. In UC's haste to force us to pay, it skipped several legally mandated steps. While it is unclear exactly what PERB will do if it finds UC guilty, this complaint indicates that the labor board will be unsympathetic if UC claims that bargaining is at a standstill and files for impasse.

UPTE and its union coalition partners are collecting protest postcards to be delivered to regents and legislators demanding that UC delay employee pension contributions until they are truly necessary. If you and your co-workers haven't yet signed the postcard, print it from our website right away and turn in the cards to your UPTE rep.

UC floated a proposal last December to provide wage increases for some employees in exchange for its "re-direction" of mandatory defined contribution plan payments to the pension fund. But UC's proposal provides nothing for those making more than $35K/year, a category that includes a large portion of UPTE's members. For this reason, we need to make sure that UC hears loud and clear from UPTE members that its pension contribution proposals are unacceptable.

Sign a strike pledge to support HX
After another full week of bargaining, UC still insists on dividing off health care professionals (HX) from this year's pension negotiations. UC management has said that HX employees will get whatever techs (TX) and researchers (RX) settle for, but won't agree to HX employees as full participants in the joint union bargaining over pension contributions.

Why shouldn't HX employees have a say? Is UC afraid of what HX employees can bring to the pension table? On January 11, demonstrations by HX members at every medical center got UC to agree that HX will be able to bargain pension, benefits and wages in 2008, so we are almost there. However, UC has repeatedly threatened to impose its pension proposals on HX employees.

More pressure should bring UC to conclude a mutually acceptable contract, including wage increases. UPTE's systemwide executive board has voted to encourage HX members to sign petitions pledging to strike if UC refuses to bargain in good faith, or if UC seeks to impose its contract demands. By signing the petition , members send a clear message to management to stop holding our contract hostage.Do it today!

Upcoming stewards' trainings
Workplace issues come up all the time and by working together in our union, we can find solutions. UPTE-CWA provides extensive training for this kind of problem solving. We are our own experts.

Every campus will be having a basic steward training in the near future. Please contact your campus activists to sign up. For stewards with some experience already, the union will be holding a full arbitration training with real arbitrators and experienced advocates. The training will take place March 24-25 in Oakland and is free to members. Please contact Executive Vice President Cliff Fried if you are interested.

Enter the E-Raffle to win Union Builder prizes

Last issue's winner was Emily Montan from UCOP. Congratulations!

This e-publication was prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn. Contact him if you have any questions or comments. If you wish to be removed from this list, please email info@upte-cwa.org.