Union Builder Communicator: March 05, 2009

March Pickets To Push For Completion of TX/RX Contract
With the settlement of the AFSCME contract, including raises for three years and controls on what the university can do with benefits and pension costs, UC should be able to settle a contract for TX/RX employees with similar conditions.

Instead, UC negotiators have yet to put more than 0% on the table for wages, and have only provided a substantive counter proposal to one article after a year of bargaining. Despite the AFSCME settlement being over a month ago, and UPTE giving a counter proposal for wages also about a month ago, UC had no plans to provide UPTE with a wage proposal or any other substantive proposal at the bargaining session scheduled for this week. To send a message to UC decision makers, the UPTE team cancelled the bargaining session because just to meet and achieve nothing makes no sense. “Our time is better spent on our campus, informing members about UC’s intransigence and collecting strike pledge cards,” explains UPTE chief negotiator Kevin Rooney.

To send a clear message to UC that UPTE is intent on wrapping up the TX/RX contract, we encourage all members to participate in pickets at each campus on March 18. A large showing will encourage UC to seriously engage in the bargaining process. Watch for the details at your campus.

UC service workers, represented by AFSCME, ratified a five year contract that provides guaranteed wage increases for the first three years, including a 3% raise retroactive to October 2008. AFSCME was able to control increases to the benefits costs and limit contributions to the pension fund. The AFSCME summary includes:

  • Raises: 3% each October for five years, 1% on 7/1/9, steps starting 7/1/11
  • Benefits: increase no more than 12% in two years
  • Pension: move 2% DCP to pension fund April 2010, any more has to be bargained
  • Parking: cap of $5 on increases
  • Overtime: time-and-half after completion of shift starting in 10/1/12

AFSCME achieved its contract through member participation in mobilization campaign to pressure the university. Despite the state budget crisis and general economic meltdown, the university found the money to provide fair raises to AFSCME service workers after a legislative support, targeted pressure on the regents and President Yudof, countless demonstrations, and a strike. The work paid off for AFSCME members. UPTE can repeat this success with similar member involvement.

Watch Your Language
At the univeristy, we have a diverse workplace. We have the benefit of cultures, ways of thinking, religions and values from across the world. Unfortunately, sometimes they also clash. Worse yet, sometimes they clash in ways that reinforce negative stereotypes.

The university sends out generic diversity statements that encourage a respectful community, but most of these do not engage us in our daily lives and look like a form notice. The university also supports some special activities to make the campus welcoming for a diverse community. UPTE-CWA supports these efforts but encourages more engagement.

One simple step we can take in our daily lives is to be more thoughtful in the language that we use. This is not just a question of being politically correct, but of not offending or putting off those around us. Some of us are not even aware that we using offensive language because we were not confronted about it in our life experience.

Take a 5 minutes out of your work day and look over a couple of these notes:

If you know of other resources, please send them to info@upte-cwa.org

Do Not Sign McCauley Public Pension Reform Act Petition Initiative That Could Reduce
Our Pension Benefits

Petitions are out at supermarkets and all the other usual locations with a ballot initiative that would make it legal for state, county and municipal agencies to renegotiate pensions with public employees. This public pension reform act could take away or reduce the pensions that we have spent our careers of public service working toward. This initiative is being bank-rolled by a wealthy Santa Monica CPA who has submitted several previous initiatives. UPTE-CWA recommends that you not sign the petition. Let’s stop this initiative before it even gets on the ballot.

Letters to Senator Feinstein To Support Employee Free Choice Act
The office of Senator Feinstein received thousands of calls encouraging her to endorse the Employee Free Choice Act, the pro-union legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions. However, she still has not committed. The measure will come before the Senate shortly and every vote will count to get the measure past a possible filibuster. We ask that you take 10 minutes and compose a hand-written letter to Senator Feinstein. Hand-written letters are weighed much more heavily than calls and emails. Sample letters and the address are on the UPTE website.

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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.
UPTE-CWA 9119  |  P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.704.8783  |  info@upte-cwa.org