|Membership Recruitment Takes Front Row (Incentives!)
We have ramped up our membership recruitment efforts. The university has thrown us a new challenge with more pension reform (see below) and we will be negotiating over wages and more in just over one year. To succeed in these upcoming negotiations, we will need everyone’s support. Thousands of employees covered by our contracts have not even been asked to join yet. Let’s go talk to them!
With the likely decision by the Supreme Court next year to remove “fair share,” non-members will get all the benefits of the union without have to pay dues! Signing up employees will be much easier now than after the decision. When asking your co-workers to become members, we should not argue that they will pay the same no matter what because next year that will probably not be true.
Many steps have been taken to make signing up for UPTE membership easier. New members can send in their form by taking a picture or scanning it, then emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully, we will have on-line signup soon. Mailings have been sent to non-members by email and snail mail.
New incentives await those who sign up their co-workers. Take a look on our incentive website.
UC Effort To Undermine Our Pension… Again!
UC has proposed allowing new hires to completely opt out of the pension plan and enroll in a risky retirement savings plan instead. This will put new hires in the precarious position of weighing their current monthly income over their future retirement. And all current employees face the destabilization and underfunding of our pension plan if there are fewer enrollees.
UC’s goal? Save money by short-changing our pension!
Such a plan will affect lower-paid employees more, as we will be tempted to opt out of the pension plan to make it easier to pay our monthly bills. But we will also feel greater pain in retirement because our pension checks represent a much larger portion of our post-retirement income.
Other employers who have phased employees out of pension plans have often ended up freezing or even completely eliminating their pension plan. We have to look no further than the Department of Energy labs run by University of California. When they were privatized (now UC is a partner with Bechtel as a private company), all new hires and many current employees were forced into a risky retirement savings plan. Now those in the “closed” pension plan face higher premiums to keep the fund financially sustainable.
Stay tuned. We have fought our way on to the UC task force to let our voice be heard. More literature will soon be available to share with the members you’ll be speaking to.
Help Re-Claim the Higher Education Vision: Action Conference in Sacramento
UPTE-CWA has helped found a coalition with millions of connections to make higher education free and accessible in California. In our first year, we successfully lobbied to increase funding to all three higher education systems. This year we want to achieve much more!
Even while many education policy experts want to revoke the promise of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, we believe the national debate about higher education provides us with an opportunity to not only preserve but to improve California's model system for public higher education.
Let’s work together to make higher education a priority. Come attend the Reclaim Higher Education conference in Sacramento on Saturday, September 26. Register on our website today: Higher Education Conference Registration.
UPTE representative for Single Payer Conference needed
Universal health care coverage (also known as Single Payer) is getting national attention as it is being brought into the conversation about presidential candidates. Just a few weeks ago, there were celebrations across the US marking 50 years of Medicare (and Medicaid) coverage.
Not only did Bernie Sanders speak in favor of Single Payer at the Medicare Turns 50 event in Washington DC, but the AFL-CIO also affirmed its support for a universal health care system. If you did not already know, in 2009, the AFL-CIO endorsed the Single Payer Medicare for All approach to healthcare reform as the most cost-effective and equitable way to provide quality healthcare for all.” This is an exciting time for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, and the work needed to develop this campaign will be discussed this year at the LCSP conference in Chicago at the end of October (October 30 – November 1).
UPTE is looking for a currently-employed member to attend the conference, report back about ideas/plans/initiatives, and actively engages in our efforts to support this national campaign. If you are interested in being a part of that conversation as an UPTE-CWA representative to the conference, please contact the Systemwide office or Yvette Piceno for details.
Last issue's winner was Josephine Ratikan of UCLA. Congratulations!