UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: April 05, 2005

Contents:
(1) Service workers will strike for fair pay on April 14 – Don't cross the picket line
(2) UPTE prepares for strike vote as UC refuses to acknowledge turnover savings
(3) Legislative hearing to investigate UC labor relations problems
(4) Don't get duped into signing the petitions


(1) Service workers will strike for fair pay on April 14 – Don't cross the picket line

Janitors, groundskeepers, food service workers and others have given notice that they will strike on Thursday, April 14 if UC does not settle a contract. At this time, UC has rejected every offer that AFSCME, the union for the service workers, has made, prompting a 92% vote in favor of striking.

The service workers are demanding:

  1. fair wage increases with guaranteed money;
  2. a “chance to advance” with training and promotions; and
  3. rules to reduce discrimination and favoritism. According to an independent study by the National Economic Development and Law Center , on some campuses a majority of service workers is paid less than the federal poverty level.
UPTE encourages all our members to support AFSCME's efforts to make UC a better place to work by not crossing picket lines and by attending morning, lunch time and evening rallies. Our members will benefit from any gains that AFSCME makes. UPTE members -- TX, RX, HX and unrepresented -- have the legal right to refuse to cross a picket line without fear of retaliation. A recent legal ruling has reaffirmed this right (see the strike info page of our website for legal details.) UPTE will provide strike benefits to all members who participate. If you want to help with AFSCME strike solidarity, let us know by sending us your contact information .

(2) UPTE prepares for strike vote as UC refuses to acknowledge turnover savings
UC has yet to put a wage offer with any money on the table for either 2004/05 or 2005/06. While UC negotiators and budget analysts have complimented UPTE on its demonstration of how turnover savings can pay for steps, they have yet to even admit that turnover savings exist. Now that all TX and RX employees are on a step pay system, UPTE has demanded that UC fund the steps with turnover savings so that dedicated, quality employees will receive fair raises.

More than rational arguments at the bargaining table may be needed to reach contact agreement. For that reason, the UPTE executive board has set the last week of April for a strike authorization vote for all UPTE TX and RX members. Members are signing strike pledge cards so to indicate their willingness to participate if we are actually forced to strike.

Clerical employees continue to work without a contract, and the nurses' contract is about to expire. Working together, we will pressure UC in every way possible -- including media, protests, unfair labor practice charges and legislative hearings. We hope the collective pressure of these actions combined with the willingness of many UPTE members signing strike pledge cards will enable us to get a fair contract without going on strike.

(3) Legislative hearing to investigate UC labor relations problems
This Thursday, April 7, the California State Senate Education Committee will conduct a special hearing to investigate UC's labor relations. UPTE and other unions will testify about how our bargaining process does not work because UC drags out bargaining, stalls on raises and unilaterally implements new policies and work place changes.

UPTE's presentation will focus on the retaliation against some of our members for union activity, such as the example of UCSD illegally dismissing UPTE local president Carolan Buckmaster for talking to her co-workers about the union. Activists from other unions have also been targeted at San Diego , but UC's Office of the President has not brought these union-busting maneuvers under control. Likewise, clerical and other union negotiators have been targeted for layoff or reclassification out of the bargaining unit. UPTE will also make a presentation about how UC's lack of accountability with our wage money is causing long-term harm to the quality of the University.

The hearing is open to the public and we encourage UPTE members to attend. It will take place from 11AM to 1PM in room 113 of the State Capitol in Sacramento . Please let your local UPTE office know you are interested in attending and we will arrange for travel.

(4) Don't get duped into signing the petitions
As happens so many times, many petitions for ballot initiatives are the opposite of what they appear. Governor Schwarzenegger has toured the nation fundraising from his corporate friends for several multi-million dollar signature drives that will hurt working people in California . He wants to make “defined benefit” retirement plans, like the one we have at UC, illegal for public employees. He also wants to make it much more difficult for public sector unions to get sufficient resources by putting unreasonable restraints on how they collect dues. Finally, he's attempting to gerrymander legislative districts to get more of his allies elected.

Schwarzenegger and his wealthy backers are seeking to buy these legislative changes because elected lawmakers in California will not support them. Please don't get duped into signing any of these petitions in front of your local supermarkets -- they are not what they seem!

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.