UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: August 2, 2010
(1) TX/RX: Protest UC Contract Violation By Delaying $1000 Lump Sum  
(2) Details of UC’s Plan of Attack On Our Pensions
(3) HX: Pension & Equity For Rest Still Unresolved, Resolution For Case Managers
(4) Clericals Remain Represented By Teamsters
(1) TX/RX: Protest UC Violation of Contract By Delaying $1000 Lump Sum
Our contract specifies that TX/RX (excluding LBL) employees will receive a lump sum of $1000 (pro-rated for percent of appointment time) on July 1, 2010. UC unilaterally and illegally delayed this lump sum payment to the August 1, 2010 check. Now, UC is using the delayed payout date to deny the payment to those who left after July 1, 2010.

This is unfair. Take action by sending an electronic protest.

(2) Details of UC’s Attack on Our Pensions
In short, UC wants us to pay more for less. UPTE is getting more details on what UC will propose because of preliminary reports from the regents’ commission on post-employment benefits. The recommendations will be a variety of divisive proposals to reduce our post-employment benefits.

(a) Employees may be given the option of paying less for their pension plan but then would concomitantly have a lesser benefit. The regents have not decided which portion of the pension benefits would be reduced. This, of course, means that those with higher pay will likely be able to afford a decent pension plan, while those that are living month-to-month will be forced to take a lesser pension just to meet the financial obligations of daily life.

(b) The medical centers want to exclude new employees from the pension plan altogether and offer them only a 401k-style plan with the employer providing some matching funds. (Take a look at CWA’s brochure on why “defined benefit” pension plans, like the one we currently have via UCRS, are more beneficial and cost efficient than 401k-style plans.)

(c) UC is considering raising the minimum retirement age. This further limits options for employees, and could also cause those that are laid off in their early 50s after years of service to lose their hard earned retiree health benefits.

(d) UC wants to reduce our retiree health benefits. The specifics are not clear, but retirees already had a 50% increase in the cost of premium this year. UC will certainly propose more increases, especially for those who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

UC must bargain these changes with UPTE-CWA and other UC campus unions. See our new UPTE leadership blog site for thoughts about how to work to protect our UC pension plan.

(3) HX: Pension & Equity For Rest Still Unresolved, Resolution For Case Managers
The first mediation session with UC to settle the HX contract was productive. Our teams’ effort to make clear to medical center administrators that we are prepared to strike if we don’t get a fair settlement has given UC an impetus to settle. An additional mediation session is scheduled for next week. Now is the time to put on the “I’m willing to strike” buttons and educate our co-workers about the issues.

After prolonged legal obstruction, UC finally accepted UPTE-CWA’s challenge that the Case Managers in the hospitals properly belong in the health care professional bargaining unit. We were able to negotiate new pay scales and other work conditions. The application of PTO (personal time off) instead of vacation and sick leave is the one issue that was left to future negotiations.

(4) Clericals Remain Represented By Teamsters
A negative arbitration decision against AFSCME’s efforts to organize clerical employees also forced our national union to withdraw its support from clerical employees working to join CWA. Dissatisfied with their existing union, different groups of clericals had been organizing this spring with both AFSCME and CWA. There had been strong support for CWA -- three times as many clericals signed cards for a state-run election with CWA on the ballot as had supported affiliation with the Teamsters.

While this is a setback for clericals to achieve an effective and democratic union, UPTE-CWA will support efforts of clericals to obtain a fair contract that gets them the wages they deserve and protects their pensions.

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.

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