UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: May 31, 2005

(1) TX/RX Strikers Make Case Loud and Clear
(2) What next?
(3) CUE Members Approve Strike

(1) TX/RX Strikers Make Case Loud and Clear

The first ever statewide researcher and tech strike at the University was a success. Dedicated UC staff walked spirited picket lines, calling attention to the lack of progress in bargaining, while UC approves new buildings, new hospitals and executive pay increases larger than the entire salaries of techs and researchers. Support from the campus community was tremendous, even in cities not know for union activism, such as San Diego where nearly every passing car gave a thumbs up and faculty emailed support letters. Our quickly expanding gallery of strike photos says it all.

Countless media outlets, from CNN to the Spanish-language Univision network, ran the story that UC administrators are undermining the University's reputation for world-class research and education by not addressing dramatically high staff turnover. For example, ABC's news channel reported, “The union is pushing for step increases that reward seniority, which could help reduce the number of researchers leaving the system.” While we could not catch every press report, we have collected many. Check out what the news media in your area said .

We received great support from other UC unions and several building trades unions. Most construction sites at UC (and there are lots of them!) stopped work as union electricians, ironworkers and others refused to cross our picket lines. Academic student employees (UAW), clericals (CUE) and other UC union members also walked the picket line and attended our noon rallies.

The message went out loud and clear to UC: stop your bad faith bargaining, show us where the money is and settle a contract NOW!

The energy generated by this strike will hopefully propel us to a quick contract resolution when we resume bargaining with UC this Thursday, June 2. Stay tuned for bargaining updates shortly after.

Strike benefits will be distributed within a couple weeks. Please contact your UPTE-CWA local if you have any questions.

(2) What Next?
While we hope that bargaining will conclude soon, we will continue the pressure on UC until we have their signature on a contract.

Today, the New York Times has a full page ad with an open letter to UC President Dynes signed by legislators and faculty requesting that he support researchers. The same advertisement ran in the Chronicle for Higher Education, which is read by University administrators throughout the country. President Dynes' colleagues around the country will be questioning him about what he is doing to stop the exodus of quality researchers.

While the Regents approved building a new hospital at UCSF and are preparing for a new administrative building to house the Office of the President in Oakland (they just built one a decade ago), UPTE activists will press them to be concerned about the staff that will actually work in these marble palaces.

Graduation events bring in huge numbers of potential donors to UC.. While congratulating the new UC alumni, we will encourage them to ask twice if UC actually has adequate staffing before they make contributions. We will give them the facts and detailed questions to ask.

UPTE members will be presenting an independent study to all legislators as they consider approving the UC budget. It will show how UC can afford our step increases by using turnover savings. If you want to go to Sacramento to help convince legislators of our cause, contact UPTE's legislative chair.

In short, keep wearing your “unity” buttons and attend any UPTE contract mobilization events you can until we get UC's agreement to give us decent raises.

(3)  CUE Members Approve Strike
CUE, the union representing clerical workers at UC, confronts the same problems of stagnant pay and bad faith bargaining. In response, its members have approved a strike by a margin of over 90%.

Something must be wrong at University. It has nearly guaranteed funding through a compact with the governor for years to come, but the workers all have to resort to strikes to settle their contracts.

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.