Union Builder Communicator: March 21, 2007

UC Offers Unconditional Pay Increase For Some TX/RX, But Not Others
A day after a pension bargaining session, UC labor relations phoned UPTE-CWA's chief negotiator offering an unconditional 2% raise for TX/RX employees making less than $30,000/year and 1% for those making between $30,000 and $35,000/year.

While extra compensation to address losses in our benefits package is sorely needed, this offer from UC has several problems:

  • 75% of employees in the TX/RX unit would get nothing because they make more than $35,000 per year. Research employees get shortchanged.
  • UC received an additional 1% from the legislature in July 2006 and this offer represents only 0.31% of payroll effective April 2007. What happens to the rest of the money?
  • Pay ranges for some job titles straddle the $35,000/yr threshold (e.g. SRA I) and this offer would disrupt the step plan that we worked so hard to achieve.

Our pension bargaining team will work quickly with UC to work out a resolution on three principles: (1) that everyone in the TX/RX units gets something, (2) that those who make less money get some extra consideration, and (3) that UC spends the full 1% they received in July 2006.

To get UC to accept our principles we will enlist the support of legislators and granting agencies in a campaign to stop "Research from being short-changed". Our TX/RX employees, the majority of whom either perform or support research, remain dramatically underpaid and to now exclude them from raises intended to compensate for some of the benefits package reductions only makes it even more difficult for UC to recruit and retain quality research staff. We will ask legislators and granting agencies to push UC President Dynes to "Stop Short-Changing Research". All members are encouraged to participate in upcoming actions.

We recognize that there are also many TX/RX employees who are not in research-related jobs who are equally underpaid. Because of the short timeframe, we are focusing this campaign on research because that is where UC gets much of its income. Any raises will cover everyone in these units regardless of their relationship to research work.

HX Contract Vote
Subsequent to our HX team achieving a tentative agreement with UC, our members have had a vigorous and productive debate over whether to ratify the contract. The vote will be March 26-30. The most up-to-date polling locations are on-line and if you want an absentee ballot, you must request one by Thursday, March 22.

On the positive side, the contract makes some excellent advances in pay for many titles and certain campuses and brings almost all of the HX on to a step pay plan which will ensure better raises in the future. With support from other UC unions, the HX won the right to bargain pension changes at the same bargaining table as other unions.

On the negative side, the agreement does not make pay increases retroactive to July 2006 when they should have occurred. HX also does not get to negotiate at the time that health benefits will be changed in 2008. Also, while we can have input on additional equity increases, UC has the unilateral right to implement what they
see fit.

Our bargaining team recommends ratification and our systemwide executive board recommends a rejection of the contract. If the contract is accepted it will be implemented immediately. If the contract is rejected, our team will return to bargain for additional improvements.

A contract summary and the complete tentative agreement are available on our website. Some small updates have been made so we encourage members to carefully review any issues important to them prior to voting.

CWA Scholarship Grants Offered
Our parent union is making its annual scholarship offer for members and their family with the CWA Joe Beirne Foundation's annual scholarship offerings for the 2007-2008 school year. An UPTE member previously won this award and all members are encouraged to apply. Note that the deadline is fast approaching on
March 31, 2007

The Foundation's Board of Directors has approved the awarding of thirty (30) partial college scholarships of up to $3,000 each, and the winners also will receive second-year scholarships for the same amount, contingent upon satisfactory academic achievement.

Eligible for the scholarships are CWA members, their spouses, children and grandchildren, including the dependents of retired, laid-off, or deceased members. Applicants must be high school graduates or high school students who will graduate during the year in which they apply. Undergraduate and graduate students returning to school may also apply.

Applications will be available solely online for completion and submission to the Foundation's website. Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2007 . The winners will be chosen by lottery from those submitting the required essay. Additional information about the program can be found at the website.

This valuable scholarship program is made possible by the funding of CWA locals.

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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.