UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: November 01, 2010

Take action now on Health Benefits & Support for UPTE Chief Bargainer Kevin Rooney


(1) HX Wage & Benefit Agreement Ratified  
(2) Support UPTE TX/RX Chief Bargainer Kevin Rooney
(3) Health Benefits Changes and Bargaining
(4) VOTE Tuesday, November 2 

(1) HX Wage & Benefit Agreement Ratified
With a more than 50% voter turnout, health care professionals (HX) ratified a wage and benefit agreement  with 90% voting ‘yes.’ Nearly 100 joined UPTE during the ratification process to participate in the vote.

The agreement provides a 2% raise for everyone effective immediately and step increases for those eligible in January. Employees at the top of the pay scale will receive a 2% lump-sum cash payout instead of a step. In addition, many employees will receive equity increases depending on their work location and job titles. For the first time, UC will now have to discuss all equity increases with UPTE prior to implementing.

By April 1 of next year, the HX unit will have the opportunity to decide on paying 1.5% into the pension plan in return for an additional 1% raises and a step increase (lump sum for those at top of their pay scale). If we accept this portion of the agreement the contract will be extended until December 31, 2011 and if we do not, the contract will retain the current expiration date of
June 30, 2011.

(2) Support UPTE TX/RX Chief Bargainer Kevin Rooney
UC has systematically targeted several of our member bargainers. Kevin Rooney, our tech and researcher (TX/RX) chief negotiator is the latest. Kevin has spent the last four years coordinating our TX/RX activities statewide, including functioning as the chief negotiator and bringing in hundreds of new members into UPTE by getting new job titles accepted into our units.

UC has ordered him to return to his job as an environmental health and safety technician at UCSF, in violation of our contract and past practice, which both allow for union leaves. This harms UPTE’s ability to carry out our TX/RX work because Kevin Rooney is our most experienced member activist in these units. UPTE reimburses UC all salary and benefits costs for union leaves.

Support Kevin Rooney and defend our bargainers by sending a protest email today from our website. UPTE has filed grievances and an unfair labor practice charge to stop this illegal retaliation for his union activity. We will prevail in the end, but we need Kevin back on the job working for the union now, so send your emails from our website now.

(3) Health Benefit Changes and Bargaining
More and more employees are becoming angered by the dramatic changes UC has made to Health Net and Blue Cross Plus. The choice many are given is either change your doctors or double your monthly premium. Join the many others who have told their story how this affects them and sent a protest email to the UC administrator in charge of benefits.

UC has agreed to negotiate these changes with UPTE’s TX/RX unit because our contract limits the amount UC can increase health benefits. To elect a new TX/RX bargaining team and discuss how we will mobilize to support them, locals will hold bargaining conferences this week, and a statewide bargaining conference at the end of the week.

Our bargaining takes place on November 15 and 16 and we recommend that TX/RX employees put off making any open enrollment decisions until after November 16 because their options may change.

(4) VOTE Tuesday, November 2
Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 2. You can find the California Federation of Labor recommendations here.  Polls close at 8pm.  If you don’t have enough time to vote outside of work hours, our contracts and UC policy provides for 2 hours paid time off to vote, at the beginning or end of a work day.

We want to hear your input. Participate in the UPTE member forum for more dialogue 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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