UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: December 22, 2005

TX/RX: Both Contracts Ratified By Record Turnout!

UPTE technical (TX) and research (RX) members turned out in record numbers to approve a new three-year contract. The contract provides raises averaging 13.2%. It includes two years of step increases, providing employees with stable raises to build a career, following several years of uncertainty and small raises. For the first time in any UC contract, UPTE won protections for our retirement plan.

Nearly half of the membership turned out to vote, and almost 300 TX and RX employees joined UPTE in the 2 weeks of voting. These numbers are more than double that of the last contract ratification in 2003. Lively debate about the choices for pay plans, how to protect our retirement, and sympathy strikes drove higher participation in the vote. We will build on this increased education and activism to work together on protecting our benefits and retirement in the coming years.

In the new contract, technical employees will receive two consecutive years of step increases for the first time in a decade, and most research employees for the first time in 17 years. These raises should begin to ease the more than 30% annual turnover of research employees.

TX members approved the contract with 77% of the vote and RX members voted 87% in favor. The ballot also included a choice between two pay plans, and in both contracts the steps plus cost-of-living pay choice received the most votes. Among TX voters, the steps plus cost-of-living option received 73%, and among RX voters it received 76% of the vote. Complete campus by campus results are available on the UPTE website.

Because of UC's threats to make substantive changes to the retirement system , UPTE demanded and won new contract guarantees that no changes can be made before July 2007, and that any changes after that must be approved by the union. Working together with other UC unions, as well as faculty covered by the same retirement plan, we will educate our members and defend these benefits. Many dedicated UC employees have endured low pay for years with the promise of a decent retirement. To pull that out from under us after we gave our life's work to the University would be particularly unjust.

UPTE's challenge to the new current employee health benefit rates helped push the final settlement of this contract. With the settlement of the contract, the new rates will go into effect. We continue to maintain that the rate increases are unfair in general and especially punish those covering a spouse, i.e. a “marriage penalty.” This will certainly be an ongoing issue in the years to come.

The contract will go into effect immediately. The University will begin working on implementing the pay increases and retroactive checks for the October 1, 2005 raises and $220 lump sum payment. While technically UC has 120 days to process these increases, in the past, many campuses have done this quickly. We will encourage members to pressure the payroll departments of campuses that are slower than others to speed up the much needed raises.

A summary of the contract and the complete tentative agreement of the contract are available on the UPTE website.

The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn for all members.
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