Professionals News Update: June, 2006

Contents:

UPTE Continues Fight to Preserve Pensions and Benefits
The May 17 Regents meeting in San Francisco brought out scores of union members in support of preserving the benefits and pensions of active and retired UC employees. The Regents were blasted during the public comment period of the meeting by union representatives from UPTE, CUE (clerical employees), AFSCME (service employees), CNA (nurses) and AFT (lecturers and librarians). They drew pointed attention to the hypocrisy of requiring employee contributions to the pension plan at a time when the papers were filled with stories of executive compensation scandals. Flashing vibrant black and yellow signs stating Save Our Pensions. No Paycuts!, union members thronged the audience, standing and holding their signs aloft whenever a union representative spoke.

Comments from UC employees were followed by stunning remarks from state legislators Abel Maldonado, Gloria Romero, and Liz Figueroa, who called for UC President Robert Dynes to resign. Pointing out that the revelations about the executive compensation scandals occurred on Dynes' watch, the legislators concluded that Dynes had abrogated his stewardship of the University system and could no longer be trusted to hold the University's reins.

UC Office of the President staff, who had previously been anticipated to present details of the University's plans for employee pension contributions at this meeting, made no recommendations. Pressure from the public and employee groups, in conjunction with preoccupation about the executive compensation scandals, have caused UCOP staff to delay announcement of their plans. It's up to us to keep the
pressure on.

Actions to Protect Our Pensions and Benefits

  • If you haven't yet signed the Save Our Benefits petition, click here to sign it on-line http://www.upte.org/benefitspetition.html.

  • Wear your Hands Off Our Pensions! button on Tuesday, June 27. It's Button Day! Call your local UPTE office to get buttons for yourself and your co-workers. Everyone can wear one and it goes with anything!

  • Attend your campus rally on Thursday, June 29, when the report of an independent actuarial report is released. The actuaries examined the UC pension plan and have analyzed its health. Attend the rally and watch the UPTE website for details of the report.

  • Host a meeting in your department about the University's benefits and pension plan changes. Call your local UPTE office and we'll be happy to provide a speaker.

UPTE 99 Members Approve Dues Change
The results of balloting are in and UPTE members who are not covered by a union contract (the 99s) have overwhelmingly approved a dues change. The dues change, approved by 80% of those voting, will increase the maximum dues rate paid by unrepresented UPTE members from $20 a month to $22 a month effective January 1, 2007. The change also includes raising the maximum dues to $24 in 2009 and to $26 in 2011.

The dues vote, held in conjunction with a dues change vote by UPTE members covered by union contract, gives us more resources to organize around protecting our pension and benefits.

Membership Has Its Privileges
Our union is only as strong as the members who run it. And the more people who choose to join UPTE, the stronger we are in the eyes of the University. To fill out an UPTE membership application, go to http://www.upte.org/join/

Member benefits include the right to vote in UPTE to help determine the direction of the union as well as access to the AFL-CIO's union benefits (discounts, insurance plans, credit cards, etc.) Joining UPTE also puts you in touch with others who are interested in their working lives and are willing to step up to the plate to do something about it.