UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: October 31, 2011
(1) Administrative professionals launch drive for union contract
(2) Nov 9-16 Week Of Actions: preserve public services, tax the 1%
(3) 2012 benefits choices
(4) UPTE-CWA wins arbitration to protect union leave
(1) Administrative professionals launch drive for union contract
 UC’s 16,000 administrative professionals (APs) have formally launched a signature collecting drive among their co-workers to win a union contract. Among the top issues for APs are pay that has lagged far behind inflation along with higher pension and benefit costs, in addition to job security and many other issues.

When administrative professionals compare their pay situation to other employees who are covered by UPTE contracts, the choice is logical: union-represented workers have done much better year after year. For instance, over the past two years, a typical employee making $60,000 under UPTE’s researcher and technical unit (TX/RX) contract made $2,500 more annually than a non-union-represented employee (and that includes the cost of union dues).

Those of us already covered by an UPTE contract support the APs’ union drive because they are the largest group who do not yet have a union protections at UC. Whatever the university unilaterally imposes on APs, they will attempt to force on union employees as well. By bringing administrative professionals under the union umbrella, we can protect everyone’s pay and benefits.

(2) November 9-16 Week Of Action: preserve public services, tax the 1%
Staff, students and faculty will come together the week of November 9-16 with noon events on all campuses to protest student fee increases and staff cuts. We’ll be advocating for UC and state budget solutions that make corporations and the very wealthy pay their fair share for public services. UPTE and other UC unions will put forward public policy and budgeting that benefits working people.

As protests across the globe sparked by Occupy Wall Street have illustrated, the economic crisis was caused by over-speculation and profiteering within the financial sector, not by public employees and those of us – such as students -- who use public services.

What’s on the horizon? The Regents will be voting on more cuts to UC. There will be ballot initiatives that raise taxes on the wealthy, on oil extraction, and on financial transactions. Let’s play a part in a movement that creates solutions. Check UPTE’s website for actions at your campus.

(3) 2012 UC benefit choices
This year, the university was even less transparent with UC unions regarding the upcoming year’s benefits changes, just sending us a link after they had posted the details on At Your Service.

Please take a look at this summary of the monthly premiums and the change ($ and %) are on the UPTE-CWA website. In the past, most UPTE-CWA members have opted for Health Net or Kaiser. Blue Cross PPO tends to be chosen by those who feel the higher co-pays are worth the benefit of additional choice of providers.

For TX/RX employees, UPTE is still negotiating with UC regarding the increased costs for Health Net and the pension plan. Unfortunately, we do not know when this bargaining will conclude. Until an agreement is finalized by a member vote, all TX/RX employees will continue to pay the 2010 rates. UPTE-CWA made a comprehensive proposal to settle these issues in mid-September, but UC has yet to respond.

(4) UPTE-CWA wins arbitration to protect union leave
UC knows that UPTE-CWA is an effective member-run union – that’s why UC administrators have specifically targeted UPTE’s rank-and-file leaders who took union leave so they could perform their duties as union officers. Despite no proposed change in union leave policy, UC ordered four UPTE officers (and four from AFSCME) back to their UC jobs, including the presidents of both unions.

But UC lost. An arbitrator issued a decision this month completely in favor of the union. We will have to stay vigilant against these tactics, but for the time being, UC’s Labor Relations union-busters have lost.

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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