UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: April 16, 2008

(1) TX/RX: Bargaining, Faculty Petition & Sacramento 
(2) Support AFSCME: Fair Raises, No Pension or Benefits Waiver; CNA Settles  
(3) HX: Equity Progress  
(4) Livermore Skilled Trades: Demand Fairness for Laid Off Employees
(5) New UPTE-CWA Website
(6) May 1: Celebrate International Workers’ Day with an Anti-War Message

(1) TX/RX: Bargaining, Faculty Petition & Sacramento
Massive member participation highlighted UPTE’s first two bargaining sessions, where the union’s elected bargaining team presented our original proposals to management. Researchers made presentations about how far their salaries lag market rates, making it financially very difficult for them to stay at UC. Workers at campus theaters demonstrated how UC pay and work rules do not come close to industry standards. Many other eloquent and moving presentations were made. While we do not plan for such large turnout for future sessions, anyone with important issues will be invited to come and present them.

UPTE members at all campuses, labs and hospitals are adding their signatures to a petition which will alert faculty to this year’s bargaining issues, and ask for their support. Many faculty support fair raises and benefits protections for their employees. Signature gathering on this petition will wrap up soon, so please contact your UPTE-CWA local if you have not yet had a chance to sign on.

UC has a longstanding position of using the amount of state money it receives for salaries as a ceiling on employees’ raises. If adhered to this year, such a position will be a major obstacle to fair compensation, as the state budget picture has not improved and massive cuts are nearly certain. But the important thing to understand is this: UC only gets 18% of its budget from the state. To use this 18% to determine what happens to the remaining 82% of funding makes no sense. UPTE aims to convince state legislators and UC of that. If you would like to get involved in this legislative effort, please contact Rodney Orr, the union’s legislative coordinator.

(2) Support AFSCME: Fair Raises, No Benefits or Pension Waiver; CNA Settles
AFSCME, the union representing UC’s service and patient care technical workers, has reached the end stages of their negotiations. The union and the university are presenting their demands before a fact finder who will issue a non-binding report. If that report does not lead to a settlement, then AFSCME may proceed toward a strike.

The main outstanding issues include a fair pay system. AFSCME wants a step system like that of UPTE-CWA so that AFSCME-represented employees can move up in their pay scales. It also wants a $15 per hour a minimum wage. AFSCME is also holding firm on not giving UC the usual “benefits waiver” that would allow UC to unilaterially set our benefits and pensions. The UC Union Coalition (comprised of several UC unions, including AFSCME and UPTE) has agreed to make ending the “benefits waiver” a key point in this year’s negotiations.

As AFSCME moves closer to a strike, all UPTE members should support them by participating in their mobilization actions. The raises that AFSCME gets and the benefits protections it wins, will affect us in our bargaining. UPTE will publicize specific events for everyone to attend.

Meanwhile, CNA, representing the nurses, just settled its contract, and won wage increases to keep their current with market pay. In part, because of the ongoing nursing shortage, CNA was able to get 6% raises and more. CNA did not give UC a waiver on benefits, but must enter into expedited negotiations this fall to determine raises and benefits for 2009. This means CNA will be bargaining these issues at the same time as UPTE.

(3) HX: Equity Progress
We have held meetings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and Davis for additional market equity adjustments for health care professionals (HX unit). These are the titles for which we made proposals to management: San Francisco: Social Workers, Psychologists, Cytotechnologists, Physician Assistants, Pharmacists, Nuclear Med Techs, Social Worker Associates, Clinical Lab Scientists; Los Angeles: Genetic Counselors, Physician Assistants, Child Life Specialists, Clinical Lab Scientists; Davis: Clinical Lab Scientists; Irvine: Social Workers, Physician Assistants, Pharmacists, Nuclear Med Techs, Clinical Lab Scientists, Dieticians; Berkeley Student Health Center: Social Workers, Clinical Lab Scientists

In San Diego, all health care professionals received internal equity increases based on their total years of experience in their field. For each year of experience, they were moved up one step. Many members moved from the bottom step all the way to the top step. UPTE is still collecting the final information on each person’s years of experience but we can already report that these raises have greatly alleviated longstanding inequities.

(4) Livermore Skilled Trades: Demand Fairness for Laid Off Employees
Since winning recognition for our skilled trades bargaining unit at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, we have begun by bargaining the effect of the layoffs of 20 employees that were let go between the privatization of the lab last October and our recognition. We have demanded fair severance, preferential rehire, retraining and job placement.

Because management only agreed to give two instead of three of our leaders release time to participate in bargaining, we proposed to bargain at 5:00 AM. To management’s surprise, 30 of our members showed up at 5:00 AM to ensure that we achieved our bargaining goals. The next session is now being scheduled.

(5) New UPTE-CWA Website
UPTE’s website has undergone a major facelift to improve its appearance and functionality. We invite you to check it out, and find useful information including the latest bargaining updates, our contracts, legislative updates, recent publications, useful links for stewards and much more. The location is www.upte.org.

You may also sign up for UPTE’s web forum, where members can post any union or workplace question and comment on others posts. There is a simple sign in process the first time you login and after that, you can go immediately to all postings. The web location is: www.upte.org/upteforum.

(6) May 1: International Workers’ Day Celebrated with Anti-War Message
Workers around in the world (except the US) celebrate Labor Day on May 1, an historic date which commemorates 1886 labor rallies in Chicago for the eight-hour work day. This year, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will mark the day by stopping work to protest against the continued US occupation of Iraq. While most of us will be going to work on this day, UPTE encourages all members to spend a moment on May Day perusing our special webpage for International Workers’ Day , which includes links to events around the state and the nation.

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.