UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: April 07, 2014
(1) UAW Strike and Negotiations at UC
Last week, TAs, readers and tutors represented by UAW 2865 went on strike to protest UC’s illegal threats of retaliation during their on-going contract negotiations. The strike brought our boisterous picket lines across the state.

The unfair labor practice charges that ignited the strike included threats by UC Santa Cruz administrators to retaliate against any employee that went on strike. The union is also protesting UC police videotaping of its strike events as gratuitous intimidations. While the strike turnout was strong and media coverage widespread, the police at UC Santa Cruz overreacted by arresting 20 strikers and charging them with a variety of violations.

Current negotiations have stalled on issues involving input over class size and equality in treatment for all employees. After nearly a year of bargaining, the university has yet to make substantive counter proposals on the union’s core demands.

(2) Sheri Sangji Remembered
While more than 5 years have passed, we shall never forget Sheri Sangji. A worker at a UCLA biochemistry lab, she died from horrific burns sustained in her third month of employment. She had never received adequate training, appropriate protective equipment or support.
UPTE-CWA health and safety activists at UCLA working together with Sheri’s sister, Naveen Sangji, as well as health and safety professionals across the country, who want to ensure that Sheri’s tragedy results in a reversal of the irresponsible attitudes that are common in many research laboratory settings. UC has drastically improved training, safety equipment and documentation across the state as a result of their campaign.

Sparked by a recent court appearance of Sheri’s lab supervisor at UCLA, who is trying to evade all responsibility, the Toronto Times ran this excellent summary of the story.

Sheri Sangji, 2008 Graduation, Pomona College
Photo credit: Tribute to Sheri Sangji

(3) McCutcheon ruling, sign up for COPE
The rich can now take full advantage of massive increases in income equality by using their excess cash to buy politicians. The recent 5-4 “McCutcheon” ruling by the US Supreme Court this week allowing contributions of up to $3.6 million by a single individual greatly imbalance the electoral process.

As protests erupt across the country, join in to defend our democracy. UPTE’s national union, CWA, has developed the slogan: “Money Out, Voters In.”

While we cannot match the millions of corporate America, we do need to provide financial support to legislators that support our causes. UPTE-CWA uses only voluntary contributions to COPE for political elections. If you have not already, please sign up for a COPE contribution of $5/month or more.
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.