Union Builder Communicator: April 30, 2008

Don’t Use State Budget To Hold Our Raises Hostage
In all previous union contracts for campus employees, UC has insisted that raises are “pursuant to the State Budget Act.” This means that if the state gives UC no money for raises this year or if they actually reduce the current salary allocation, UC will try to apply that to us even though fewer than 10% of us are funded from state funds. The other 90% of us are funded by federal grants or paid by revenue from UC enterprises, all of whose budgets include money for our pay raises.

The UPTE-CWA bargaining team has made it a high priority to remove this language from our contract.

This week, UPTE-CWA activists are visiting state legislators to inform them of how UC abuses the state budget to hold back our pay. You can participate in delegations to key legislators in your area by contacting your campus UPTE or systemwide legislative coordinator. We will be taking additional actions at each campus over the next couple of months. Your participation will be important to our success.

AFSCME Gearing Up & Nurses Settle
AFSCME has persisted in their demands for step increases, a $15/hour minimum wage and no more waivers for UC to take unilateral actions on benefits and pensions. They are in the midst of the fact-finding stage of the impasse process that can lead to either a contract resolution or a strike. Making sure that AFSCME has the strength to not accept a waiver on benefits and pension will be critical for our demands to get rid of this same waiver in our current contract negotiations for researchers and tech employees. UPTE-CWA members should support AFSCME actions. If necessary, we will send advice to UPTE-CWA members about what work we can refuse to do if our AFSCME colleagues are not at work and how we can participate in their strike actions.

The nurses, CNA, settled their contract with significant raises but could not get a multiple year agreement on benefits or pension. This means that they will have to bargain for the 2008 raises as well as benefits and pension this Fall, at the same time that we are hoping to conclude our negotiations.

International Workers’ Day – May 1
May 1 is the day the rest of the world celebrates Labor Day. The day was chosen to commemorate a rally in Chicago in the struggle for the eight hour work day. Many U.S. unions are celebrating the day by protesting our nation’s occupation of Iraq. You are invited to commemorate May 1 by perusing our special International Workers’ Day website and participate in any local actions that you can.

Stewards’ Tip Of The Month: Get All Your Vacation Time
With summer approaching, many of us are checking our vacation accruals and planning summer vacations. In most cases the University enters your vacation accrual rate at the department level and many mistakes are made. The most common mistake is that they do not change your accrual rate when you get to ten, fifteen or twenty years of qualifying service.

Here are the relevant contract articles: TX, RX, HX, unrepresented.

You can check your accrual rate with your login on your campus benefits website. Usually a simple call to your department payroll person will fix this. Make sure that they give you the vacation credit retroactive to the date that your accrual went up.

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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.