UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: September 20, 2012
(1) Stop UC from Dumping Benefits for Some Employees  Take Action!
(2) YES on Proposition 30: Tax the Wealthy to Pay for Education 
(3) TX/RX: Take UPTE’s Bargaining Survey
(4) HX: Strike Vote!
(1) Stop UC from Dumping Benefits for Some Employees
UC has dropped benefits coverage for employees who did not respond to the request to prove eligibility of their dependents, and has also dropped dependents when they deem the employee did not adequately prove eligibility. While UPTE-CWA supports UC taking reasonable measures to prevent fraud in the benefits program, some of UC’s current actions have been unwarranted and overly punitive, causing hardship for many UC employees who legitimately have children and spouses covered on their benefits plan.

Here’s a first-hand account of a union member at UCSF caught in this bureaucratic mess:

“When first Secova demanded we fill out a form verifying exactly what family we have on our medical, warning that members may be removed if we do not respond, my wife was divorcing so I thought if they remove her, fine, I'm getting around to do that very thing myself. But months later I read where I, the primary user might be removed also… I tried calling the Secova number numerous times and got their menu of choices, asking me to give some account number they issued me before I could go any farther, which I didn't have, and I couldn't figure out how to talk to a human being to ask for another form to fill out. Finally, days later, calling yet again, I miraculously get thru, they sent me a form and I filled it out. To threaten to remove health coverage for myself over something like this puts added stress on already stressful days.”
Take Action! Support your colleagues at UC by telling the university to reinstate benefits for all employees they have dumped by sending an email to UC Human Resources Director Dwaine Duckett: click here to send a sample letter. No UC employee should lose benefits without a full and fair investigation.
(2) Proposition 30: Tax the Wealthy to Pay for Education
Here’s something that UPTE and UC agree on: California’s Proposition 30 must pass this November. We cannot afford the state budget’s automatic $250 million cut to UC, or a 20% student fee increase. Proposition raises more than 80% of its revenue from a modest tax increase on the state’s wealthiest citizens, with the remaining portion coming from a ¼ percent sales tax increase.

Put a YES on Prop. 30 sticker up in your workplace. Talk to your co-workers, family and friends. Get materials from your UPTE-CWA contact or the Proposition 30 website.

(3) TX/RX Bargaining Survey: Can You Ever Retire?
All of UPTE’s researcher (RX) and tech (TX) members should fill out a bargaining survey in the next two weeks. The survey will give direction to our elected bargaining team as it prepares for negotiations for a new contract.

The results will be presented and discussed at our statewide bargaining conference, scheduled for October 6 in Los Angeles. You can get the bargaining survey from your local UPTE-CWA contact.

(4) HX: Strike Vote!
UC continues to hold all pay increases for UPTE’s health care professionals (HX) hostage unless we give up the right to bargain about the pension plan. UPTE proposed a cost-of-living increase in return for paying the pension contributions everyone else is paying. UC refused to provide any counter-offer – it gave a flat “no” to this proposal.

HX employees will only get fair cost-of-living increases if UC’s team knows our members are upset and willing to back it up with action. HX members are organizing a vote on a strike for the second week of October. A ‘yes’ vote authorizes the union to call a strike at a later date. Polling locations will be posted at UPTE’s website in the next week.

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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