UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: February 25, 2011
Contents:
(1) ”Save the American Dream” Rallies – Defend Our Union Rights and Benefits in Wisconsin and Across the US  
(2) Benefits and Pension Bargaining
(3) UPTE Reports to National Academy of Sciences how Privatization has Harmed the Mission of Livermore and Los Alamos National Labs   
(1) "Save the American Dream” Rallies – Defend Our Union Rights and Benefits in Wisconsin and Across the US
This Saturday, February 26, rallies will be taking place in cities all across the country to defend our way of living and democratic rights. Check out the rally website to find a location near you.

Teachers, other public employees and thousands of other working people have occupied the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison to defend their rights. Legislators in Ohio and Indiana have put forward similar anti-democratic proposals, sparking outrage and protest in those states.

Join in the fight back. Bankers and corporations have rebounded thanks to the tax-payer funded bailouts. Now the legislators they support are blaming the fallout of the economic crisis (created largely by Wall Street speculation) on working people and public sector employees in particular.

Don’t balance the budget on our backs. Don’t take away our democratic rights.

(2) Benefits and Pension Bargaining
UC has made proposals to increase our share of the health benefits premiums and cut our pay by 0.5% to fund the pension plan. While we recognize the need for employees to share the burden of the budget challenges, UC has been completely unwilling to give us any greater voice in the control of our health plans or pension fund, even though it is our money and the benefits are ours. UC has not even provided the UPTE bargaining team with the relevant information we require to make reasonable alternative proposals.

These are the kind of proposals that would solve UC’s budget concerns and our desire for more fairness and voice:

  • increase health care premiums the same percent for all pay bands; under UC’s proposal, the top pay band’s percentage increase is 1/3 of the bottom pay band’s percentage increase
  • pick up a greater share of the Health Net premium
  • involve unions in the design and selection of health insurance plans and providers
  • involve unions in the governance of the pension plan
  • secure our future retiree health benefits with UC making a contribution to the retiree health benefits trust fund.

(3) UPTE Reports to National Academy of Sciences how Privatization has Harmed the Mission of the Livermore and Los Alamos National Labs
Through our legislative efforts we inserted a clause in the Department of Energy funding bill for a National Academy of Sciences study on how privatization has impacted the national nuclear weapons laboratories. UPTE activist from Lawrence Livermore Jeff Colvin had the opportunity to provide the first testimony before the panel in charge of the study.

Colvin gave compelling evidence how the privatization has resulted in a large increase in overhead costs, executive compensation, and the number of executives. This growth in management has been at the cost of employee recruitment and retention and most importantly the creativity and productivity of the scientific mission.

We call on the committee to gather much of the detailed information not available to the public to demonstrate the full extent to which privatization has shifted resources from the scientific endeavor of the labs to executive compensation and private profit.

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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