UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: March 29, 2012

(1) HX: UC Holds Wages Hostage--Demands Free Rein to Cut Retirement 
(2) Restore Higher Education Funding and Put the Money Back Where It Belongs 
(3) DA Considering Settling Charges Against UCLA for Death of Sheri Sangji
(4) Operational Excellence: Downsizing Indiscriminately

(1) HX: UC Holds Wages Hostage--Demands Free Rein to Cut Retirement
UC negotiators have refused to make a wage offer for UPTE-represented health care professional (HX) employees unless they allow UC to impose retirement changes to the pension plan and retiree health benefits. After four months of bargaining, the UPTE bargaining team allowed the contract to expire because UC’s refusal to move on this issue. With no contract in effect, UC must maintain “status quo,” which means they must bargain over every rule change, the effects of any layoffs, schedule changes, reorganizations and more.

UPTE’s members have begun to pressure the CEOs of the medical centers. CEOs received an average of 46% pay raises in the last year! They should support fair pay for health care professionals. We will be emailing and marching to the offices of each medical center CEO. Several other actions will take place over the next couple months. Let’s act in unity!

(2) Restore Higher Education Funding and Put the Money Back Where It Belongs
UC has requested a budget commitment from the governor for several years of secure funding increases. At the same time, UC wants the state’s money with even less accountability for its distribution. UC management acknowledges that student fees will continue to go up.

If the state re-funds UC, the money should go back to the areas that bore the greatest burden of the austerity measures: reduce student fees to make them affordable again and provide adequate funding for services such as libraries, classroom support, and other areas that suffered mission-threatening cuts.

Along with other unions and students, UPTE will speak and protest at the Regents’ meeting this Thursday at the Mission Bay Campus of UCSF starting at 8:30 am. We encourage members to attend.

(3) DA Considering Settling Charges Against UCLA for Death of Sheri Sangji
OSHA has issued citations and levied fees against UCLA for numerous safety violations related to the burning death of lab worker Sheri Sangji three years ago. The district attorney in Los Angeles pressed felony charges against UCLA and Patrick Harran, the professor in charge at the lab where Sangji worked, for willfully violating California’s Labor Code. The university wants to settle the case to get off the hook. Please join hundreds of members and interested community members who have written the district attorney to demand that the charges stand. That is the only justice and lesson that can come of this tragedy.

(4) Operational Excellence: Downsizing Indiscriminately
“Operational Excellence” is the new corporate slogan for downsizing. UC has piloted this program at the Berkeley campus, laying off hundreds of dedicated and proven employees who don’t have the protection of a union contract, and then inviting them to reapply for about half as many “new” jobs. While UPTE supports an efficiently run university that provides the best academic and research environments, UC’s new indiscriminate slash and burn management leaves our university without critical skills, and with reduced responsiveness and dismal staff morale.

One group of employees at high risk from this downsizing are UC’s 14,000 administrative professionals (APs), who are currently organizing to win union protections. If you are an AP, sign an UPTE authorization card. If you have AP coworkers, ask them to sign a card supporting UPTE.  

UPTE can help all UC employees fight these cuts at your campus. Contact your local UPTE rep if you have any questions or concerns.

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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