eBulletin for Administrative Professionals
August 2010

Researchers and technical contract means full-speed ahead for administrative professionals
In spring of this year, 10,000 technical and research professional employees represented by UPTE-CWA Local 9119 settled their contract with the University. The contract calls for, among other advances, pay increases for the next three years totaling up to 14.5%. UPTE-CWA continues to bargain for 2,500 health care professional employees and is also turning its attention to organizing the 12,000 administrative professionals not yet covered by a union contract.

UC employees without the protection of a union have taken the brunt of UC’s cutbacks and we deserve the same level of protection as other employees. To see what a difference a union contract makes, compare employees covered by a contract to those without one.

If you believe that a union is the best way to protect your career at UC, sign a commitment card here. If you want additional information, visit our website or call us at (510) 704-8783.

Administrative professionals meet in LA to plan next steps
Union supporters from around the state will meet in Los Angeles on Saturday, August 21 to discuss the next steps in UPTE-CWA’s organizing campaign for 12,000 administrative professionals.  The meeting will be held on the UCLA campus in 2408 Ackerman Union and is scheduled from 10 am to 4 pm. If you’re interested in attending, please contact your local UTPE office, or call our systemwide office (in Berkeley) at (510) 704-8783.

Pension benefits threatened
At their September 14-16 meeting, the UC Board of Regents may move to make unprecedented cuts to the UC Retirement System (UCRS). Plans under consideration include:

  • Raising the minimum retirement age from 50 to 55
  • Reducing the “age factor” of 2.5% at age 60 to 1.5-3% at age 65
  • Reducing the maximum benefit from 100% to 80%-100%
  • Reducing the cost of living adjustment (COLA) from 2% with a 6% cap to a cap of
    • 5% or
    • the lesser of the consumer price index or
    • 2% with periodic “ad hoc” increases
  • Offering a new “defined contribution plan” in lieu of the pension plan to med center, newly hired,  (and possibly other) employees

While each of these proposals represents a decrease in both access to and the level of benefits, the creation of a defined contribution plan is the most disturbing. While UCOP’s Post-Employment Benefits Task Force describes this as a “choice” for new hires, it has chilling implications for all UC employees.

When UC begins offering different tiers of benefits, we all suffer. Not only do our co-workers get worse benefits than we do, but fewer participants in the defined benefits plan means that there is less principal to invest and a greater risk to share among fewer plan participants. In addition, study after study shows that defined contribution plans (like 401k and 403b plans) have much lower yields than defined benefit plans. And the employee assumes all the risk for a defined contribution plan. For more information about defined benefit plans, see the Primer on Public Pension plans.

We don’t yet know what the Regents will recommend at their meeting, but stay tuned to UPTE-CWA Local 9119 or look for us on Facebook and we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, the best way to protect your future at UC is to support UPTE-CWA. If you support a union for administrative professional employees, sign here.

This bulletin provides a resource for workplace issues affecting UC’s staff professionals and ways we can work together to solve them. It also keeps us updated on administrative professionals’ organizing efforts with the University Professional and Technical Employees union (UPTE).

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