Union Builder Communicator: May 15, 2007

TX/RX ''No Strings'' Bargaining & Mobilizing for Research Dollars
UC has shown some flexibility on the distribution of extra money it received to compensate for increased benefits costs, but has still not put enough money on the table. Hopefully, we will be able to work out an agreement at our bargaining session this Thursday, 5/17.

UPTE's goals are to ensure as many members as possible get some money and to get as much money as we can. The overall pool of money UC has offered is paltry, adding up to about an average 0.35% pay increase. That would be less than $12/month for someone making $40,000/yr. This does not make up for their proposed 2% takeaway of our retirement savings contribution, the 50% increase in health benefits premiums, and the years of wage stagnation, but we'll take it anyway.

We are seeking the support of Vice Chancellors for Research at each campus, as well as federal legislators that sit on the science committee, to support retention of quality staff by holding UC accountable for all money received for our raises.

If you have not gotten in your letters to the Vice Chancellor for Research, please do so now. You can print it from our website and get it into your UPTE-CWA staff.

Pension Rallies and UPTE Accountability Bill Vote
As the regents meet to consider proposals for our pension contributions, UPTE-CWA members will make themselves heard at the meeting and events all over the state. We encourage all activists to attend an event near them.

UC has still not received any additional money from the state for the employer contributions. Before 1991, UC paid the employer contributions for our pension plan from the standard benefits overhead it receives for all employees. Despite receiving the same benefits overhead now, UC is not making any contributions. If UC had continued to put even its 2% into the plan for the last 16 years of their "contribution holiday," our pension plan would be much better funded.

The legislator is now considering a bill, AB1333, sponsored by UPTE-CWA, which mandates independent audits and time for public input for any changes to our pension plan. The bill will go to a vote before the California State Assembly this Thursday. Please call your legislator today and encourage support for this important bill.

HX Contract Ratification and Implementation
The HX members of UPTE-CWA voted by a margin of 75% to ratify a new 5 year agreement with wage increases for 3 years. The complete contract is available on the UPTE-CWA website. We will bargain for our wages for the last two years and any changes in our pension and benefits in 2009 or earlier.

UPTE will be seeking additional equity increases for those who are paid too low in the pay range for their years of experience. We collected many employees' years of experience during the ratification process, but need to complete our list to include everyone. Members at each medical center will meet with management to argue for these additional increases.

The University illegally intervened in our membership vote on the contract ratification by sending out emails pushing for a "yes" vote. Supervisors even signed up non-members so they could vote "yes". After a complaint from UPTE-CWA, UC has promised not intervening in future UPTE-CWA member votes. Management intervention in the internal votes of unions violates labor law.

Employee Free Voice Vote
Take two minutes and make change happen! We can pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) by joining with fellow CWA members and other unionists across the country in a massive phone calling campaign this week. The EFCA is federal legislation that will restore workers rights to organize in the US.

The calls are quick--just thank our US senators for their sponsorship and support of the EFCA.

Every call is tallied, and the opponents of the bill have been blanketing Senate offices with their calls in opposition to the bill. This week, we will drown out the voices of corporate greed by generating thousands of calls in California.

Call the numbers below for your senators. Ask friends, families, and co-workers to do the same. Hand your cell phone around, and make sure that the calls start pouring in.

Barbara Boxer: SF: (415) 403-0100; LA: (213) 894-5000; Sac: (916) 448-2787
Diane Feinstein: SF: (415) 393-0707; LA: (310) 914-7300.

Click here for more information on the EFCA.

Enter the E-Raffle to win Union Builder prizes

Last issue's winner was Michele Crawford of UCSB. 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.