UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: September 16, 2009
8 Days Until TX/RX ULP Strike!

(1) Strike and Faculty/Student Walkout Gathers Momentum
(2) UC Plans To Increase Cost Of Retiree Health Benefits

(1) Strike and Faculty/Student Walkout Gathers Momentum
In what promises to be an historic day of campus actions to support public education, research and service as well as employee rights, more and more participants are continuing to sign up to attend strike and walkout activities on Thursday, September 24. If you are an UPTE-represented researcher (RX) or tech (TX), sign up for picket duty with your local. Picket locations are continually being updated on-line.

Hundreds of faculty have publicly pledged to support a walkout on this first day of classes. Lecturers and other academic employees will be bringing their classes out to picket lines. Other UC union members also be lending their support. Labor councils have granted strike sanctions and will send solidarity brigades.

UPTE TX/RX members demand that UC meet its legal obligations to fairly bargain a contract, including for all available funds and about all plans for furloughs or layoffs. UC has committed many unfair labor practices, including failure to bargain, unilaterally implementing changes, surface bargaining, direct dealing with our members instead of with the union, and retaliation against our bargainers. UPTE members with questions may review our strike FAQ.

(2) UC Plans To Increase Cost Of Retiree Health Benefits
At a meeting with unions last week, UC benefits administrators announced a plan to increase the cost of retiree health benefits. Currently, all retirees pay the same as employees in pay band 2 for health benefits. UC proposed a new scale for retirees that will force them to pay about 4% more of their benefits.

This de-linking from pay band 2 opens the door for future changes. For UC employees over 65 years of age who retired from the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, the university has expelled them from the UC retiree health benefit program and instead gives them $2400 to buy their own benefits. Retiree health benefits are not an entitlement – we have to fight to protect them. Unions have negotiated protections for retiree health benefits in the past, but those must be renegotiated each contract.

The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write him at president@upte-cwa.org.

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