logo UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: January 12, 2009
(1) TX/RX: UC Proposes 0% Raise For 3 Years Plus Pay Cuts. Call Yudof And Tell Him You Deserve A Raise
(2) Livermore Skilled Trades Bargaining: Health And Safety Breakthrough 
(3) UC Nurses Authorize Strike To Protect Pension and Safe Staffing Levels 

(1) TX/RX: UC Proposes 0% Raise For 3 Years Plus Pay Cuts. Call Yudof And Tell Him You Deserve A Raise
After 10 months of bargaining, UC finally made its first wage proposal last week. The offer was 0% raise for 2008/09, and the next two years would depend on the state budget, which we all anticipate to be 0% at best. At LBNL, a 2.25% increase has been offered, which is too low, but shows how UC can offer money when no state funds are involved.  In addition, UC demanded that we give it the right to unilaterally impose pay cuts to fund the pension plan. Now, we all know that this is a first proposal, but even for a first proposal this is an insult that requires a strong response if we expect UC to take our bargainers seriously.

This Wednesday, January 14, all UPTE members are strongly encouraged to call UC President Yudof at 510-987-9076. If too many are calling that number and you can’t get through, call the UC administrator responsible for staff working conditions at 510- 987-0253. We have prepared a simple script for calling that you can use if you like. Please follow that action up with an email to action@upte-cwa.org letting us know that you made the call.

As we continue pressure tactics like this “call-in picket,” UPTE members are also signing a pledge to strike if UC will not offer fair raises and protect our benefits. If we strike, there must be broad participation. That is why UPTE is asking you to sign a pledge, so that we all know that we can count on an effective action before we take it. Please sign the union’s strike pledge card and hand it in to your UPTE zone contact or organizer.

(2) Livermore Skilled Trades Bargaining: Health And Safety Breakthrough
UPTE’s members in the skilled trades bargaining unit at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab have achieved a major breakthrough by winning the right to stop work at any time they believe the conditions are unsafe. After the discovery of pervasive beryllium contamination, the lab is under a lot of pressure to clean up its act. The layoffs and contracting out of skilled trades members has greatly reduced the amount of preventative maintenance to critical plant equipment such as boiler, ventilation and fume hoods. Much of the lab infrastructure is now being “run to fail.” This could lead to life-threatening accidents with all the extremely toxic and radioactive materials at the lab.

In response to a petition to lab director George Miller signed by many UPTE members, Miller conceded that workers would have the right to stop work without any fear of reprisal. This at least allows our members to get themselves out of dangerous work situations. Now we need to push the lab to agree to adequate staffing levels to resume the necessary preventative maintenance. This will require a commitment to no layoffs, no contracting out, and reasonable raises to retain staff.

At the same time as this breakthrough, the lab management decided to eliminate retiree health benefits after workers become Medicare eligible. For retirees, this will dramatically reduce benefits and increase their costs. UPTE has filed an unfair labor practice against the lab for failing to bargain this change as it affects our skilled trades members.

(3) UC Nurses Authorize Strike To Protect Pension and Safe Staffing Levels
The 10,000 nurses throughout the UC system have voted for strike authorization. The university has refused to engage in bargaining to maintain staffing levels based on patient needs instead of financial gain. UC also has refused to protect retiree and employee benefits, and continues to insist on unspecified pay cuts of up to 5% to fund the pension plan. At this time, the nurses are continuing negotiations, but if they are forced to strike, UPTE encourages members to support them.

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