UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: December 13, 2005

(1) TX/RX Contract Ratification. Vote On Raises, Benefits and More
(2) Equity, Hazardous Work, Shift Differential, and Financial Accountability Committees

(1) TX/RX Contract Ratification. Vote on Raises, Benefits and More
Last week we unexpectedly settled a TX/RX contract with more than 14% raises for most employees over three years, first-ever protections for retirement benefits, and the real possibility of working with other unions to preserve them. We have converted our already planned contract settlement vote into a ratification vote. Members will vote this week on the proposed wage increases and other contract conditions. Non-members can join at the polling stations and cast their ballot. Check out the nearest polling location or get an absentee ballot.

The vote includes an option to choose between a wage plan (1) with steps and cost-of-living increases or (2) with slightly higher cost-of-living increases but no steps. The University has agreed to both. The option that carries the most votes will be implemented. We have prepared a worksheet to help you calculate your raise. The exact details of the wage package were sent out to members last week and are available in the contract summary.  Lawrence Berkeley Lab employees can find their wage plans here for TX or RX .

Because the University has proposed dramatic changes to our retiree health, forcing mandatory contributions to our pension plan and even setting up a two-tier pension plan, we insisted on no longer allowing the University to make these changes unilaterally during the term of the contract. The University cannot even propose any changes prior to July 1, 2007 and at that time the University has to get our approval for any changes through the bargaining process. This is the first time we have had this kind of protection in any UPTE agreement.

One disappointment in this agreement is that we had to weaken our ability not to cross other union's picket lines. The University continues to be completely inflexible on this point. After nearly all the other unions at UC gave up this right, it became unrealistic for us to hold up our contract and wages over an issue where there was no movement. A prolonged strike or other major action with many unions against the Regents and the University will be necessary to change this. We will work closely with other unions to have our agreements expire at the same time so that we can coordinate our bargaining and pressure tactics, including strikes if necessary. If this contract passes, we will initiate this collaboration by working together to defend our retirement in 2007.

The UPTE systemwide executive board recommends a ‘yes' vote on ratification of this contract and the TX/RX negotiating team is not making a recommendation at this time.

For all the details, members can read the complete tentative agreement.

(2) Equity, Hazardous Work, Shift Differential and Financial Accountability
Here is your opportunity to get involved.

If the TX/RX contract passes, UPTE and the University have agreed to set up joint committees to address ongoing important issues on which we had wanted to make more progress in bargaining. Many job titles are still paid at dramatically under-market rates and we should push for additional equity increases. The University has agreed to work with UPTE to define hazardous work conditions so that we can push for extra protections and hazardous pay differentials. Finally, the University has agreed to track how much our raises really cost in a Compensation Evaluation Committee.

We are looking for input and possible participants for these committees. Please contact your campus UPTE local to get more information.

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.