UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: August 10, 2005

(1) UC Holding Up Wages in Effort to Deny Free Speech: Speak Up!
(2) Labor Board Issues Bad Faith Bargaining Complaints Against UC
(3) Governor's Special Election is an Attack on Public Service

(1) UC Holding Up Wages in Effort to Deny Free Speech:
Speak Up!
UC negotiators have stated in bargaining that they will not put forward a decent salary proposal with steps and cost-of-living adjustments unless UPTE waives our members' constitutional right to free speech. UC wants UPTE to agree that managers can discipline employees who support their co-workers using workplace actions, including honoring other unions' picket lines.

UPTE stands for protecting our members' right to voice and act on their beliefs. We will not allow UC to punish our members for exercising their basic democratic right to free speech in the workplace. That an institution of higher education that stands for the open exchange of ideas (and whose motto is “Let there be light”) will hold up modest raises in an attempt to squelch free speech rights is a surprise to us and to many legislators, who are calling on UC to drop this demand and settle the contract.

We ask you to exercise your free speech rights right now by emailing UC President Dynes a message via our website . Feel free to add your own comments. We are bargaining with UC this Thursday and Friday. If UC drops this demand, we believe that we can quickly agree on a fair contract. Defending the freedom to support our co-workers will help all of us obtain better working conditions at UC.

(2) Labor Board Issues Bad Faith Bargaining Complaints Against
UPTE has challenged UC's bad faith bargaining practices, such as not putting forward meaningful proposals, not sending bargainers to the table with any authority, seeking to terminate the bargaining process in the midst of negotiations, and not scheduling bargaining sessions. The state's Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) responded by issuing a complaint against UC , which will lead to a hearing unless UC alters its practices.

This latest PERB complaint comes on the heels of 3 previous complaints about UC's failure to provide information needed by the union for bargaining, as well as evading the bargaining process by making unilateral changes on some campuses. To settle these complaints, UPTE will demand that UC provide the information and reverse its retaliatory actions against UPTE members who participated in recent workplace actions.

(3)  Special Election is an Attack on Public Services
The attack on our pensions and public service that Governor Schwarzenegger backed off from earlier this year will come up again in the special election scheduled for this November. One measure on the ballot will force all public sector unions to get explicit permission from every member every year in order to use any resources for lobbying, or to even speak to legislators about issues important to their members.

If passed, this measure would make it much more difficult for UPTE to participate in legislative hearings investigating UC's lack of financial accountability and illegal labor practices. The union would be limited in its ability to ask legislators for support in bargaining, or to act in our members' interests over job privatization (which is now happening at the Los Alamos National Lab, where 8,000 UC employees work).

Corporations, however, would not be similarly restricted. Corporate bigwigs could continue to host three-martini luncheons with legislators, “informational” gatherings for politicians at the golf course or yacht club, or any other meetings with legislators to give their advice and large financial contributions.

We ask that you keep yourself informed and active on this and other ballot propositions. Here is a website with comprehensive information on the union dues initiative and another on the November special election.

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.