Union Builder Communicator: October 10, 2007

UPTE-CWA Convention Charts Course
A record number of delegates attended the annual UPTE-CWA convention last weekend in Anaheim to set priorities for defending our pension and benefits through member participation. From workshops on health care reform, to unit caucuses for our contracts, participants learned about the issues and discussed our responses.

The well-attended TX/RX unit caucus focused on the upcoming bargaining challenges. Also, a spontaneous discussion resulted from a showing of hands that indicated more than half the attendees believed they were working out of their job classification. The HX caucus discussed on-going equity proposals and participation in the upcoming pension bargaining.

Delegates voted on amendments and resolutions dealing with:

  • Making our bargaining more democratic
  • Single-payer health care
  • Member access to bargaining records
  • Support for our contract campaign
  • Responding to management actions such as layoffs and equity raises
  • Ending the Iraq war
  • And more

The attendees also marched in front of the downtown Anaheim AT&T offices to support our sister CWA local, whose jobs are being outsourced to India and automation. The minutes of the convention will be made available in the next month (contact our recording secretary, Rodney Orr , for a copy). The next convention will take place in San Francisco in the middle of October 2008. We will send out dates as soon as we know so you can mark your calendars.

Vote on CWA Presidential Endorsement
Our national union is asking all members to vote online for their choice for US President. Go to www.cwavotes.org to have a say in who our union will endorse in the 2008 national election. Please pass this along to other members. We hope that at least 10% of our members will participate in this poll, which ends on November 9, 2007.

Regent Open Meeting Law & Joint Governance Resolution Pass
The governor has signed a bill , authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), spearheaded by AFSCME and supported by the UC Union coalition, requiring the regents to discuss all employee compensation issues in open meetings. This includes all discussions of executive compensation. Consistent member pressure through emails, letters and visits to legislators helped ensure its passage.

In addition, both the State Assembly and Senate passed a non-binding resolution , also authored by Senator Lee, calling for joint governance of the UC pension fund. Nearly all other public agencies in California have employee participation. If UC agrees to this, employees would take seats on the board and we would have great influence on issues like pension contributions and the security of our pension fund.

Health Risk Assessment Survey Threatens Confidentiality
Information obtained by the California Nurses Association in their bargaining with UC raises worrisome questions about the third-party health risk assessment surveys that UC health insurers offer on their websites . On the surface, the surveys offer free advice to employees about how to live healthier. Some of the insurers are even offering a financial incentive if you fill out the survey. What's the catch?

The third-party running the surveys sends the information to your insurer. A recent newspaper article revealed that employers were limiting health care options and or charging more for healthcare to employees who refused to divulge their personal health information in such a survey. Employees are also concerned that this sharing this information may affect their future ability to obtain insurance. These industry trends may well be adopted by UC in the future.

Help Improve the UPTE-CWA Website
We are preparing a major renovation of our website and want your input. What other kind of materials would you like to see on our website? Can you find what you need and if not do you have any ideas how to improve it? Let us know! Please email Lou Goodal with your suggestions.

Enter the E-Raffle to win Union Builder prizes

Last issue's winner was Lori Teare of UCSD. 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.