UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: May 21, 2007

Success: Retirement Savings take away postponed, no re-direct to pension fund


(1) Pension Protection Victory!
(2) HX Equity Following Up on Ratification
(3) UPTE-CWA Member Web Forum Launched

(1) Pension Protection Victories!
Our union mobilizing plan to protect our pensions has borne fruit: at their meeting in San Francisco last week, the regents officially voted not to implement their planned take away of our 2% retirement savings (DCP) contribution and re-direct it to the pension fund (UCRP).

About 100 union members topped off months of action by taking a half-day off work to attend the regents' meeting to demand a ?voice in our pensions.? On the same day, other campuses held actions to make clear to UC that, after years of undermarket salaries, UC workers cannot afford pay cuts to fund the pension plan.

In response to union pressure, UC also officially acknowledged that it will pay 11% of any pension contribution determined to be necessary. This is closer to the historical precedent for UC pension contributions (see http://www.cft.org/councils/uc/table.pdf ). But it still lays a heavy burden on employees, and the negotiations are far from over. UC is still proposing that employees pay 5% in employee contributions to the UCRP pension plan, on top of a future possible 2% loss of ?redirected? DCP funds. No matter how you slice it, this adds up to a pay cut for ordinary UC workers.

UPTE-CWA wants pension contributions dealt with as part of comprehensive bargaining including raises and health benefits. That will enable members to judge their overall take home pay and benefits plan instead of having pieces taken away one at a time.

Last week also brought legislative success to protect our pensions. The California State Assembly passed AB1333, which requires an independent audit with four months of review time prior to any change in pension contributions. This bill, forwarded by UPTE-CWA and sponsored by Assemblymember Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), now goes to the Senate for approval. In addition, Assemblymember Leland Yee held a press conference right after Wednesday's regents' meeting announcing his proposed constitutional amendment giving employees an equal role on the pension governing board.

Meanwhile, UPTE's tech (TX) and researcher (RX) members have submitted many letters to the Vice Chancellors for Research to engage them in a dialogue about the difficulty of retaining quality research staff. We hope this pressure will lead to a fairer distribution of extra salary money.

Pensions will be at the top of the agenda for all of UPTE's members. The TX and RX contracts expire June 2008, and HX members also have the right to fully bargain any pension changes. Together with the other unions at UC, we aim to get a real voice in our pension and health benefits plans for employees and retirees for the first time, while we also push for additional raises bring workers closer to fair market pay rates.

(2) HX Equity Following Up On Ratification
UPTE's health care professional (HX) members voted to ratify a new five year contract with the ability to bargain additional wages in the third year and participate fully in any pension negotiations. Nearly all health care professionals will be moved to a step pay plan this July that will ensure regular step increases in addition to annual cost-of-living raises. The steps will help our wages keep pace with market rates and reward employees for longevity.

While the new contract brought many wages up to market rates, some individuals are still not being paid according to their level of experience. During our ratification vote, members reported their years of experience. HX activists at each medical center and student health center will compare experience to pay and make proposals to management for individual equity increases. If you want to report your years of experience, and/or help ensure these that these increases get distributed, please contact your local UPTE-CWA activists and staff.

(3) UPTE-CWA Member Web Forum Launched
Members can now ask questions and make comments on any workplace and union related topic of interest. Go to the website for free forum access and see what other members have on their minds.

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.