UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: November 7, 2013
(1) UC Starts Talking – Let’s Make Sure They Hear Us
(2) Bargaining Proposals: UC Offers Nothing ... Or Less!
(3) UC 2014 Benefits Negatively Impact Many
(4) Lawrence Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos Members Worry About the New Year
(5) College of the Sequoias Contract Ratified
(1) UC Starts Talking – Let’s Make Sure They Hear Us
After about two years of bad faith bargaining, UC has finally begun to negotiate. New UC President Janet Napolitano has re-opened negotiations with AFSCME and made the first substantive proposal for raises to the nurses (CNA). UPTE-CWA leaders will meet with Napolitano next Friday to explore possibilities for a negotiated settlement.

While UC has started talking, this in no way guarantees an outcome that provides the fair raises and retirement security the unions have proposed. Only on-going activism showing UC that we are informed and care deeply about our working conditions will convince UC.

In a final effort to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution, the university backed away from imposing essentially no wage increases and the second-tier retirement on UPTE-CWA health care professionals (HX). In return, UPTE agreed to not strike, in a good faith effort to give negotiations a chance. If imposition and striking occurs, the struggle will take a more acrimonious and prolonged turn.

Our message to UC President Napolitano is this: You have a choice. Continue down the path of dismantling UC charted by former President Mark Yudof, or turn the corner and work with staff, faculty and students to preserve UC as the world's premiere academic institution. We have to make President Napolitano understand the grievous and irreparable harm UC bargaining proposals would do to morale, recruitment and retention.

UPTE-CWA members at UC, if you have not already done so, you should immediately sign our online strike pledge card. Napolitano must be convinced that if she makes the wrong choice, there will be consequences. If we strike, we want to ensure an impressive turnout. Each of us wants to know that our co-workers will join us on the picket line.

(2) Bargaining Proposals: UC Offers Nothing ... Or Less!

A glance at UC’s proposals to HX/RX/TX members shows that the vast majority would get no net raise (or even a pay cut) if UC imposes its terms for 2013 (2012-2013 for HX). While UC has advertised raises, it has obscured the fact that it intends to nullify any raise with increased pension contributions. For the nearly 10,000 RX/TX members, UC's proposal adds up to a 1.5% decrease in pay for 2013, unless you are eligible for a step increase.

  • See UPTE-CWA's HX page for a summary and the entire proposals of both UC and UPTE.

  • See UPTE-CWA's RX/TX page for a summary of the proposals. Complete proposals
    of both UC and UPTE will be posted soon.

(3) UC 2014 Benefits Negatively Impact Many
Among the biggest victims of the benefits changes are those who have already retired. UC has increased their monthly premiums by more than 35%. In addition, the abandonment of Health Net (not Blue and Gold) will disrupt the provider network many of us have relied on for years.
The 2014 benefits plan features a new, self-insured plan called UC Care, with an emphasis on UC health care providers. And this is a good thing: encouraging UC employees to utilize our own services helps our membership. UC's shift to improve primary care will increase our patient population and diversity.

While this plan may offer long-term benefits to our members, the immediate effect of forcing those still on Health Net (not B&G) to UC Care may mean they will either lose their providers, or suffer a dramatic increase in out-of-pocket costs for care. If your provider is not part of UC Care, you must use the PPO, which gives you flexibility to pick your own doctors but comes with a heavier share of all the costs.

For retirees, UC disconnected them from the cost structure of employees several years ago and has steadily increased their monthly premiums. This year a typical Health Net (B&G) coverage for a UC retiree went from about $110/month to $170/month. UC wants to continue shifting the cost until retirees are paying 30% of the premium.

(4) Lawrence Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos Members Worry About the New Year
Our members at the Department of Energy Labs narrowly escaped furloughs during the last government shut down and are back at work. Unfortunately, we will likely re-live the budget showdown in January. The frivolous abuse of dedicated federal employees as pawns in a greater political strategy is unconscionable. UPTE-CWA activists are pressuring legislators to make responsible and timely decisions about the budget and debt ceiling.

The dissatisfaction with the dysfunctionality in Washington, DC undermines efforts to fund a responsive and democratic government. Lawmakers need to understand that we insist they manage our collective needs, not those of their most generous campaign contributors.

(5)College of the Sequoias Contract Ratified
Associate faculty at the College of the Sequoias (in Visalia) are represented by UPTE-CWA, and have overwhelming ratified a contract that provides 2% raises this year, as well as rescuing the college from accreditation shortcomings.

The conflict-ridden accreditation board threatened to revoke the college's accreditation because of labor disputes with full-time faculty and classified employees, and inadequate attention to tracking student learning outcomes. Our represented faculty members will take on greater responsibilities for meeting these tracking demands in return for raises.

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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