UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: November 10, 2008

(1) UPTE Convention Delegates: “We Will Strike For Pay”
(2) Election Results Give Hope, But We Have Our Work Cut Out for Us   
(3) Livermore Skilled Trades Unified to Complete First Contract  
(4) Health Care Professional Bargaining Survey and Conference: Give Your Input  
(5) Welcome Producer/Directors! UPTE Stops UC Effort to Erode Union   

(1) UPTE Convention Delegates: “We Will Strike For Pay”
Given the choice of accepting a pay cut or going on strike, the delegates at the annual UPTE-CWA convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution to start collecting pledges from members to go on strike. As part of the union’s continuing demonstrations, media events, and presentations at regents’ meetings, we’re building support to wage a successful strike to convince UC that we won’t sign a contract with a pay cut. Print out your strike pledge cards and hand it in to the UPTE activists in your area.

UC has money for our raises. Do we have the will and power to fight for it? Most of our TX and RX members receive their wages from grant funds and UC enterprises, not from state funds. Grants and UC businesses have already set aside money for our raises. Yet even though less than 10% of us are paid from state funds, UC continues to insist on conditioning those raises on the availability of state funds. This makes no business sense. Other employees not paid from state funds (such as hospital employees) have enjoyed substantial raises. Many executives who are on state funds, including UC attorneys and the new UC president, have received raises. Underpaid academic student employees that are paid from state funds have received raises. UC has never claimed that they do not have money for raises, only that we are not a priority. What are we willing to do to make sure the money that is there for our raises actually ends up in our pockets? If members stand together, we can get a raise.

With turnover rates of 20% to 30% among RX/TX staff, UC cannot afford to continue paying far below market wage. Our demands for fair pay will encourage experienced and talented staff to stay at UC, thus retaining the excellence we have contributed to over the years.

While we continue to make these arguments at the bargaining table, we are also planning more demonstrations to pressure regents and campus chancellors, and rally the media and legislators to our side. We will also call on faculty and supervisors to support us. They will benefit from our efforts to protect UC pension and benefits.

(2) Election Results Give Hope, But We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us
The election of Barack Obama as our next president gives us all a sense of opportunity and possibility. From universal health care that we can afford, to bringing a senseless war to an end, we can win real change. No doubt health insurance and corporate health care interests will pressure the new administration to retain their lucrative business. The military industry and oil interests will seek to prolong our costly engagement in Iraq, starving funds from public services including research grants and education. We must hold President-elect Obama accountable and make sure he follows through on his commitments to working people. (You can keep in touch with the new administration’s developments at http://www.change.gov).

Together in a broad coalition promoting working people’s interests, we can build a movement that will not only reset our nation’s priorities but simultaneously address our dire economic crisis. We need a program that will create jobs, education, public infrastructure, green industry and health care, not Wall Street bailouts. Last summer’s $600 stimulus checks did not keep anyone from foreclosure, or foot the bill for day care. Only jobs with decent wages enable us to pay for these essential needs from month to month.

As a union of public servants, we will make our contribution to a new politics that supports education, research, health care and public service. We will start by winning a fair contract that allows us to pay our bills and care for our families. To ensure that our new sense of hope becomes a reality, we will also target broader policy questions from California’s troubled budget, to overturning the state’s new discriminatory law on marriage.

(3) Livermore Members Unified To Complete First Skilled Trades Contract
The UPTE-CWA members at the Livermore National Lab have now placed a nearly complete contract proposal on the table. The proposal focuses on building on the job security we have won with a union and obtaining fair raises. We now await a substantive management response.

The first ever employee demonstrations at the lab gates in support of the contract have not only shown management that we are determined to get a fair contract, but have convinced many union skeptics that we can win. Over the next month, we will see how serious lab management is about completing a contract. If bargaining stalls or they refuse union proposals, we will escalate our mobilization actions and consider strike options.

(4) Health Care Professional Bargaining Survey and Conference: Give Your Input
Clinical lab scientists, pharmacists, social workers, and other UPTE health care professionals will bargain for raises, pension and benefits starting early next year. Activists in every workplace are distributing a bargaining survey. We will present the results of the survey at campus bargaining conferences throughout November. We will review the final results at our systemwide bargaining conference on December 6. All members are welcome to attend the bargaining conferences and help set the bargaining priorities.

Meanwhile, pensions for our health care professionals continue to be bargained by our HX representative on the TX/RX bargaining team. UPTE health care professionals are full participants in these negotiations, including their right to participate in strike actions.

(5) Welcome Producer/Directors! UPTE Stops UC Effort To Erode Union
Some departments have started to use non-union job titles for employees doing work that is part of our bargaining units. UPTE has taken an aggressive stand to stop this erosion of our union by asking the state labor board and UC to incorporate certain job titles into existing UPTE bargaining units.

Last month, UC agreed to bring all employees in the Producer/Director title, except the Principal level into the UPTE technical unit. We are awaiting a final decision from the labor board on Case Managers and Clinical Research Coordinators. We will be working with employees in several other job titles (including medical interpreters, marine mechanicians and technical support analysts) to bring them into the UPTE bargaining units where they belong. Stay updated on our progress on our website.

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