Professionals News Update: January, 2007

Happy New Year from UPTE-CWA, the union for professional staff at UC!

We hope that the new year finds you rested and happy! Besides the usual challenges of students coming back and plans for the new year, we face some unique and significant changes.

Let's work together this year to preserve the quality careers so important to us and the success of UC.

All Our Benefits Up For Change
Many have undoubtedly heard pieces of the bad news about our benefits. Here is a concise and comprehensive summary. The magnitude of the changes and the shift in burden to employees proposed by UC executive are neither necessary nor inevitable. UPTE-CWA is leading the effort to protect our benefits.

  • Pension Contributions: UC has predicted 8% employee contribution, with the first 2% coming from our defined contribution plan payments on 7/1/07 . UPTE-CWA wants UC to pay their fair share and we need adequate raises to make up for contributions.
  • Pension Plan: UC has speculated about offering an inferior plan for new employees. UPTE-CWA objects to a two-tier workplace with substandard conditions for new employees that will eventually erode the benefits for all.
  • Employee Health Benefits: UC has increased our premiums on average more than 50% this year and plans to more than double this in coming years. UPTE-CWA demands that UC pay their fair share and not shift the cost burden to us.
  • Retiree Health Benefits: These are not an entitlement and can be unilaterally changed and even eliminated by UC! UC estimates retiree health benefits to be about a liability of about $8 billion. UPTE-CWA proposes that UC establish a trust fund to security for retiree health benefits.

Keep abreast of the latest developments and obtain more complete information on the UPTE-CWA benefits webpage.

What can you do to help turn the tide?

  • Print out and sign the UC union coalition benefits petition. Get your co-workers to sign it too! We will present all the petitions to the Regents and legislators early this year.
  • Host a meeting with your co-workers to discuss changes to our pension and benefits. We 'll provide information and a facilitator.
  • Join the UPTE-CWA administrative professional campaign to keep quality jobs at UC.

Our Pay Raise Got Short-Changed While Union Employees Get 1.5% More
Did you know that the California legislature allocated 4% for salary increases for 2006-2007? We are discovering that many got less than that. What did you actually get? Please tell us on our web survey .

So far, UC has explained that they withheld about 0.5% for equity increases. UPTE-CWA is requesting that university executives account for this equity increase money, but we'd like to hear your stories about how equity money was distributed in your department. Enter your information on our web survey .

Despite excellent evaluations, many employees received less than 3.5%. Where did the rest of the money go? UPTE-CWA has requested a full accounting of all pay increases for 2006/07 and will issue a public report once we get the information from UC.

While we wonder what happened to our raise money, our colleagues who are covered by UPTE-CWA's research professional and technical union contracts will receive 4.8% to 5.0% if they are not yet at the top of their pay scale. UPTE-CWA's members covered by a contract will, on average, receive about 2% more in raises over three years and continuing employees will get 3% to 4% more in the last two years!

As part of our long term goal to create quality career jobs at UC, UPTE-CWA negotiated all research and technical employees back on to a step pay plan that guarantees upward mobility for all successfully performing employees. Many of us have also complained about wage stagnation and a step pay plan would make a big difference.

We welcome all comments and questions by email at or phone at (510) 704-8783.