UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: January 22, 2010
(1) Medical Center Executives Get Massive Incentive Bonus, UC Proposes Nothing for Workers; HX Workers Take the Strike Pledge  
(2) TX/RX Petition To Campus Executives: Distribute Our Raises!
(3) Temporary Layoff Fightback
(4) UC Starts Attack On Retiree Health Benefits
(1) Medical Center Executives Get Massive Incentive Bonus, UC Proposes Nothing for Workers; HX Workers Take the Strike Pledge
The regents have approved incentive awards averaging more than $80,000 each, a total of $3.1 million in funds, to UC medical center executives. The superlative financial performance of the UC medical centers is being given as the reason for these awards. At the same time, UC’s offer to the 2,300 health care professionals in UPTE-CWA is two years of 0% raises, in addition to cuts to the pension plan and health benefits.

While some of UPTE’s health care professionals got a modest incentive award, this is no substitute for a base-building pay increase. Many job titles remain under market rates, and those that were at market rate are falling behind again because the wage freeze.

The double standard for pay seriously undermines morale among staff. UC President Mark Yudof has called for “sharing the pain,” an argument that has no legitimacy with these unconscionably immense incentive awards. The pain is being born solely by those who do the frontline work at UC. Worse yet, the lack of pay increases for hospital staff does nothing to keep down student fees or alleviate campus funding shortfalls.

In response, health care professionals are discussing a strike if bargaining does not move towards a fair conclusion. UC refuses to even meet at the bargaining table, never mind putting forth an acceptable proposal for contract resolution. Sign the strike pledge card and let you co-workers know you will stand for fair treatment.

(2) TX/RX Petition To Campus Executives: Distribute Our Raises!
The news that UC campuses statewide have brought in record amounts of research funding provides one more argument why UC should be distributing the money included in grants for raises. UC bargainers continue to insist that techs and researchers get no raises and take pay cuts for benefits for three years (2008/09 through 2010/2011). UC bargainers continue to violate the law and will now be held accountable.

Many campus administrators have questioned UC Office of the President’s blanket policy to give no raises even when money is available. The current petition being signed by TX/RX members statewide unifies us to pressure these campus administrators to take action. UPTE-CWA chapters at each campus will organize events to deliver the petitions in February.

If UC expects to attract and keep quality staff, they must provide adequate compensation. UC administrators need to hear from UPTE members that there is broad support to settle contract talks. 

UPTE’s bargaining team has made a comprehensive proposal to UC that can settle our contract with one day of negotiations. When UC negotiators decide to start meeting their legal obligations, we can settle the contract.

(3) Temporary Layoffs Fightback
The Public Employment Relations Board has issued a complaint against UC for its refusal to bargain over pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs. To complement legal challenges  that UPTE has made of the threatened temporary layoffs, UPTE campus activists have initiated pressure campaigns to encourage supervisors and department chairs to not implement these very harmful temporary layoffs.

A letter writing and call-in campaign in support of the first person in Merced to receive a letter has already resulted in management suggesting spreading out the layoff days and slowing the process for any additional temporary layoffs.

In Berkeley, a group of machinists has presented a petition to management that describes how the machine shop will actually lose money from the staff not working because they won’t be able to bill hours for the time they are laid off.

Actions are being planned at various locations on the Davis campus where temporary layoffs have been threatened if staff do not take START (voluntary reduction in time). The areas proposed for layoffs have nearly no state funds.

If you or your co-workers are facing a temporary layoff, get in touch with UPTE to challenge them. Many supervisors do not want to issue these layoffs.

(4) UC Starts Attack On Retiree Health Benefits
Starting January 1, 2010, UC increased health benefit premiums for retirees by up to 50%. UC also stopped paying for VSP (the vision care plan). Previously, the monthly premiums for retirees were tied to band 2 of the premium bands. This guaranteed that retirees could not be targeted for higher increases than employees. This connection has now been severed and UC will determine what to charge retirees separately from employees.

UPTE will legally challenge this change. UC must negotiate retiree benefit changes and costs for people that retired after our contract expiration. UPTE’s retiree activists are sending out a letter to retirees encouraging them to join the campaign to defend the benefits that they worked years to earn.  This fight will affect all of us who plan to retire from UC some day.

We want to hear your input. Participate in the UPTE member forum for more dialog on UPTE issues.

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.