UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: August 25, 2008

(1) State Budget Causes UC Layoffs But No Wage Cuts, Yet
(2) Legislators Tell UC Not To Hold Our Wages Hostage To State Budget  
(3) Pay For UC Employees Without Union Contract Lags    
(4) Vote Now For UPTE-CWA Union Officers   
(5) AFSCME Continues To Rally For Fair Pay and Benefits Protections   

(1) State Budget Causes UC Layoffs But No Wage Cuts, Yet
As part of the high-stakes political brinksmanship to get budget concessions, the governor has cancelled many state contracts, including some at UC. UC President Mark Yudof has issued instructions to campuses to immediately begin layoffs for any employees working on these contracts.

The first victims we have heard of are the social workers at UC San Diego who work on a state contract to transition prisoners with psychiatric challenges back into to society. Effective September 8, they will be laid off temporarily until the budget is resolved and state funding is restored. If you or anyone you know is being affected by these temporary layoffs, please contact the UPTE-CWA president and your local UPTE leaders immediately.

We were successful when UPTE members sent hundreds of emails that have, for now, helped push back Yudof’s suggestion that he might assist the Governor by cutting our pay. Now we will demand that UC utilize its vast financial resources to maintain quality programs and staff during this temporary budget crisis. Using staff as political pawns to balance the state budget is not only unfair to us, but undermines the ability to recruit and retain staff and the very viability of these state-funded programs. Why does our new UC President show greater concern for the Governor’s budget priorities than his own staff?

The budget deadlock in California is a result of a minority of legislators who have used California’s nearly unique requirement of a 2/3’s vote for budget approval.  They are trying to force their agenda to cut education, healthcare, environmental protections and other social services while at the same time decreasing the tax burden for corporations and the wealthy. The Speaker of the Assembly offers a summary of the issues behind the budget conflict.

(2) Legislators Tell UC To Not Hold Our Wages Hostage To State Budget
Key legislators are giving UC notice that the state’s budget allocation to the university should not be used as a limit for staff raises. Even though the state will most likely give UC no additional money this year, most staff are not funded on state funds. Money is already allocated from federal and private grants and UC money-making enterprises, and if that money set aside for our raises is not used, it will be diverted to other cost.

(3) Pay For UC Employees Without Union Contract Lags
UPTE-CWA administrative professional members, who are not yet covered by a union contract, have prepared a wage brochure showing how dramatically their wages have fallen behind inflation. Those covered by a UC contract have done better, but still remain underpaid.

UC’s “merit pay” system is more accurately described as a “maybe pay” system. The brochure will go out shortly to the university’s 14,000 administrative professionals systemwide.

(4) Vote Now For UPTE-CWA Union Officers
Ballots have been sent by mail to all UPTE-CWA members to elect the principal UPTE-CWA officers. All members are encouraged to read the candidates’ statements and send in their ballots. Ballots must be received by September 2.

You can make a request for a replacement ballot by providing your name and correct mailing address to the election committee c/o UPTE-CWA systemwide office: UPTE-CWA 9119, PO Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704; by phone 510-704-8783; by fax to 510-704-8065; or by email to info@upte-cwa.org.

(5) AFSCME Continues To Rally For Fair Pay And Benefits Protections
AFSCME negotiators walked out of bargaining with UC after promised concessions failed to materialize. UC refuses to even pay a living wage for nearly half of the union’s workers and refuses to offer any across the board increase. AFSCME activists are ramping up their pressure again, as students come back to school and the effect of a strike could have great impact. Rallies to support AFSCME bargaining are planned this week.  

UPTE-CWA strongly encourages members to support AFSCME workers in every way possible. Their demands are just, and what comes out of their negotiations will have a great impact on our contracts.

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