UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: February 03, 2005

(1) TX, RX: Worksite Meetings About Actions for Real Raise
(2) TX, RX: Make Sure You Get Your Two Days Off
(3) LANL: University of Texas Pulls Out But Our Future Still Uncertain
(4) Everyone: Stop Bush's Raid on Our Social Security

(1) TX & RX: Worksite Meetings About Actions for a Real Raise
UPTE activists and staff are holding hundreds of worksite meetings across the state to jump-start discussions about how to finish our contract negotiations and get a real raise. In addition to publicizing the many ways UC can afford a raise (see below), we are discussing actions to pressure the University, including strikes. Your input is needed! Please contact your local UPTE chapter to find out when a discussion is scheduled in your work area (www.upte.org/contacts/).

UPTE's bargaining team meets again with UC next week. The University continues to insist that all step increases must be paid for out of a reduced across-the-board cost of living increase. This would mean we would only get 1.5% of the 3% the state put in UC's budget this year. UPTE has shown that UC can easily afford to pay for step increases out of savings from employee turnover. We should get the entire 3% across-the-board cost of living increase for this year AND step increases for every year including 2004/05. You can see the numbers for yourself in UPTE's wage analysis.

UC has refused to comply with last year's state budget reporting language to show how much it saves due to employee turnover. UC does not want the legislature to know that it diverts approximately 1% of our pay every year. UPTE will be contracting with an independent accounting firm to verify our cost analysis, and we'll post the report on our website.

(2) TX & RX: Make Sure You Get Your Two Days Off
As reported earlier, UPTE's campaign to get tech (TX) and research (RX) employees two administrative days off over the holidays succeeded, without acceding to UC pressure to give up on pay raises.

Make sure that you receive your two days off. Here are your options:

  • (a) You took at least two days vacation over the holidays. These should be credited back to you.
  • (b) You worked over the holidays and your department is paying for the two days. Make sure the money ends up in your paycheck.
  • (c) You took two days off in January. These should not be deducted from your vacation.
  • (d) You have done none of the above. Immediately schedule two days off – the deadline is March 30, 2005.

If your supervisor or department is preventing you from exercising any of these options, contact UPTE immediately. You can also review UPTE's question and answer sheet on the two days off.

(3) Los Alamos: University of Texas Pulls Out But Our Future Still Uncertain
While the University of Texas has publicly announced that it will not bid to run the Los Alamos National Lab, well-informed rumors have begun to surface that UC is close to agreeing to a partnership with several private corporations to prepare its bid. If there is such a partnership, it is unclear at this time who would actually be the employer and what would happen to the UC retirement fund. One of the private partners could become the employer, or the partnership could set up its own private umbrella corporation.

The University's last experiment with such a partnership occurred when it privatized the entire UC San Francisco hospital in a merger with Stanford. That venture ended in an unmitigated disaster for employees and the University. During the transition, UC forced employees to resign their UC positions in order to be eligible for jobs with the new company. Many dedicated, long-term employees decided to leave. After 18 months, the enterprise collapsed and employees were funneled back to UC. Throughout the process, UPTE and other unions fought to save jobs, compensation and benefits. It took an act of Congress to restore UC employees' lost service credit.

Los Alamos employees are encouraged to join UPTE. The union has an active legislative, representation and advocacy campaign. Only with membership strength will we be able to adequately tackle the obstacles we face.

(4) Everyone: Stop the Raid on Social Security
President Bush's plan to replace Social Security's guaranteed benefits with risky private accounts would hurt working families. It would force drastic cuts in benefits and saddle our children with $2 trillion in debt, most of which we would owe to foreign countries.

Find out more about Social Security— America 's best run and most effective family insurance program—and how to protect it. Read the AFL-CIO's protect our social security campaign.

The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn for all members.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write him at president@upte-cwa.org. If you wish to have dialogue with other members about UPTE-CWA issues, sign up for our web forum.