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UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: May 13, 2009
Contents:
(1) UPTE Strikes on Berkeley Campus, Gets UC’s Attention
(2) Regents Use Swine Flu as Excuse to Meet by Teleconference and Approve Escalated Executive Salaries And Student Fee Increases 
(3) HX Bargaining Begins: Fair Pay and Benefits Protection 
(4) Health and Safety Survey Ends This Friday 

(1) UPTE Strikes on Berkeley Campus, Gets UC’s Attention
Hundreds of striking researcher and tech (RX/TX) members at UPTE’s Berkeley local succeeded in pressuring UC to finally place a wage proposal on the table, and to drop all charges against our Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL) bargainer Victor Dorsett. The strong show of unity included actions at other UPTE locals and from other UC unions, in particular clerical employees in CUE, who are in the same bargaining situation.

After 14 months of not negotiating and offering 0% raises, UC finally came up with a first proposal with money, though not nearly enough, a week after receiving our strike notice. The threat of a successful strike, despite the challenging economic situation, made an impression. The offer UC put on the table contained only 2% in wage increases guaranteed over 3 years, with none retroactive to October 2008 when we should have received the raises. Although the vast majority of RX/TX members are supported by grants and endowments, UC made the 1% across-the-board and longevity steps in the third year contingent on the state budget. With the bleak outlook for education funding in CA, UC is effectively offering us 0% for this year.

In addition to the wage offer, the day after the strike, management agreed to drop all charges against our LBL bargainer, who returns to work on Wednesday after two weeks off (with pay!). At Berkeley’s picket line, Victor Dorsett described how management at LBL had trumped up charges against him.

The success of our strike at Berkeley has sparked support for a statewide UPTE TX/RX strike. If UC continues to violate the law by not bargaining in good faith, UPTE will be forced to strike at all campuses this summer. The unilateral changes to benefits and parking costs, as well as UC’s refusal to answer critical information requests on benefits, pension and more, violate the university’s legal obligation to maintain the status quo until we have a new contract. UC cannot have it both ways: if it wants changes, it must bargain them and settle our contract.

If you have not already done so, sign your strike pledge card today and hand it in.

(2) Regents Use Swine Flu as Excuse to Meet by Teleconference and Approve Escalated Executive Salaries And Student Fee Increases 
The regents cancelled their scheduled three-day meeting in San Diego and replaced it with a one-day teleconference, claiming complications in coordinating the meeting due to the swine flu. While muting the impact of the demonstrations planned by student groups and unions, the change in plans did not stop the regents from approving salaries for the new San Francisco and Davis Chancellors that are 12% and 27% higher than their predecessors. These new executives also continue to enjoy the other standard perks for UC executives, including free housing, expense accounts, and more. At the same time, the regents voted to raise student fees by 9.3% to over $8,700 per year. The total cost to attend a UC campus, including housing and books, is now around $25,000 per year.

(3) HX Bargaining Begins: Fair Pay and Benefits Protection 
UPTE’s health care professional bargaining team (HX) began negotiations this week for raises and benefits covering the next two years. While our previous agreement brought excellent raises for many, the pay structure for the HX unit continues to be fraught with both internal and external inequities. While some medical centers now pay based on years of experience, others do not. Pay between the medical centers remains unequal despite nearly equivalent cost-of-living across the state. Campus-funded employees lag behind medical center-funded employees, despite the fact that they do the same work and live in the same community.

In addition to addressing these pay inequities, UPTE’s HX team will fight to preserve our benefits, pensions and retiree health benefits. Working together with other UPTE bargaining units and UC unions, we will work to preserve our benefits.

(4) Health and Safety Survey Ends This Friday 
The deadline to fill out UPTE’s Health and Safety Survey is the end of this week. The survey being conducted in memory of Sheri Sangji, who died as a result of a laboratory accident at UCLA. It will provide crucial information for us to win better health and safety provisions in our contract. Please take 5 minutes to complete the on-line survey now. The California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined UC Los Angeles nearly $32,000 for circumstances related to Sheri Sangji’s death.

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

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UPTE-CWA 9119  |  P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.704.8783  |  info@upte-cwa.org