Union Builder Communicator: June 29, 2012
Elections and Tax Initiative
We suffered some painful losses in the primary election including the initiatives gutting retirement benefits for the workers in San Diego and San Jose. Since then, the modified version of Governor Brown’s as well as the Molly Munger tax initiatives has qualified for the November ballot. The state has a new budget for 2012/13 that includes money for our pensions and to avoid any student fee increase.

The San Jose vote highlights our likely future at UC. All new employees will be forced on a reduced pension plan while current employees will be given a choice of taking a substantial pay cut to stay on their current pension plan or migrate to the new reduced plan. UC will take the same strategy by pushing through tier 2 ensuring current employees that they will not be affected and then come for pay cuts a couple years down the road.

If the modified Brown tax initiative does not pass in November, education and many other programs will take another massive budget cut that is automatically triggered by the budget the governor signed. We need to educate and advocate for this tax initiative to make sure that it passes with enough votes (2/3’s!). The July UPTE bulletin will focus on the details of the tax initiative. Let’s make sure to get it out to our members and talk to them--they listen to us as union leaders!

You can get more detailed information about the ballot initiatives on the Secretary of State’s website.
UC Wants To Split TX and RX While Holding HX Hostage
Can UC be any clearer that its strategy is to divide and conquer? They want to insist that the TX and RX units bargain separately. These two contracts are 99% identical and we have negotiated the last two contracts together. There is no justification for this other than a union-busting strategy to facilitate imposition of the 2-tier retirement system.

UC has bitterly fought AFSCME which represents service workers and patient care technical workers in an effort to keep those two units from bargaining together. They have even denied union release time for bargainers that would be paid by the union so that bargainers for the two units can attend each others’ sessions.

Meanwhile UC bargainers have explicitly stated that they have a directive to settle no agreements without getting an agreement on the 2-tier retirement system, including HX. They intend to hold up HX wage increases for last year in order to pressure our HX members to forfeit their right to bargain about the retirement changes.

We clearly have our work cut out for us.

Analysis Of Supreme Court Decision To Uphold Healthcare Act
The surprising decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) yesterday changed the political momentum in the country after several anti-worker decisions and a punishing primary election season.

While the ACA has many shortcomings and does little to control the costs of health care (despite its name), it is a step in the right direction to provide healthcare for millions of Americans. If the ACA is overturned, we are not even crawling in the right direction and the symbolic set back would be very disheartening. I understand this is not a ringing endorsement but we must appreciate the advances we make in the trench warfare we are engaged in to defend our hard won gains.

Here are the latest thoughts on the Supreme Court Decision and the Affordable Care Act.

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