UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: June 10, 2005

(1) Clerical Workers Strike June 13-15
(2) UPTE Spreads Message of Threat to Quality Research and Education
(3) START Extended

(1) Clerical Workers Strike June 13-15

After no increases in October 2003 or 2004, the union representing clerical workers, CUE, has called for a strike. Many other UC employees, including those represented by UPTE, got raises. An independent arbitrator involved in bargaining ruled that UC had sufficient funds to afford raises, and that clericals are paid 20% less than their colleagues in the California state university system. Despite these compelling findings, UC gave less than 20 out of 17,000 clericals a small equity increase in 2003/04. The University's denial of any other raises for 2003/04 is the basis of this strike.

UPTE supports the strike by CUE and encourages our members to participate in whatever manner they can. We will provide strike benefits for those who forfeit a day of pay to walk the picket line. Details of strike actions will be sent out at every campus, as they differ from campus to campus. The northern campuses will converge on UC's Office of the President on June 15. You can print out your favorite poster about needing a raise or a contract from the CUE poster campaign website and put it up in your work place. If you have any questions, please contact your UPTE local.

Former UC President Richard Atkinson promised the legislature that the University would take affirmative steps to improve staff morale and relations with unions. This year, every union that has been bargaining has gone on strike or will do so shortly. Small across-the-board raises and no step increases have convinced ever more quality staff that UC will not provide them with a career. More recently, the University has begun to discuss separating staff benefits from those of executives and faculty, and eliminating the defined benefit retirement plan for new employees. The University has a funding compact for many years into the future with the governor, but can still not make any peace with staff.

(2) UPTE Spreads Message of Threat to Quality Research and Education
After a one-day strike by UPTE researchers and techs, UC Labor Relations has backed away from the bargaining process. Rather than seeking a resolution of our TX and RX contracts, it aggravated the conflict by switching many employees to paper checks for May. Unfortunately, Labor Relations' current actions polarize and punish rather than resolve differences. Knowing that pressure will continue from the legislature, faculty, media, the scientific community and donors until we achieve a fair contract will convince UC Labor Relations to come back to the table.

Refusing step increases for continuing employees for more than 5 years means that employees will not move up in their pay scale for that length of time. After years of insufficient pay increases, many quality staff have gotten the message that there is no career at UC and have left. UPTE-represented staff involved in research leave at the rate of more than 33% every year.

UC's top quality research and education suffers when quality staff leave. UPTE has begun a campaign for a quality UC to convince the University to provide adequate raises to retain staff. We will take our message to the scientific community and the public. The campaign was launched with full page ads in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. You can participate by signing on the website .

UPTE will also focus on visiting the hundreds of new employees UC hires every month and explain to them how the University system for raises does not work. We will get them involved in their future at UC from the day they start.

(3)  START Extended
There is one bit of good news. After a campaign by UPTE and other UC staff, the University has agreed to continue the popular START program for those already enrolled. The START program allows employees to voluntarily reduce their time but retain the same service credit and benefits accrual rates. Participants are guaranteed that they can return to their full time position at the end of a year. You should check with your department right away to see what you need to do if want to participate in START.

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.