UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: July 02, 2014
(1) Narrow Supreme Court Ruling a Blow to Public Sector Unions
Corporate America has targeted public sector unions, from Wisconsin governor Scott Walker denying public employees the right to negotiate their pensions, to this week’s narrow 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn denying home health care workers the right to participate in fair share union dues. Unionized local, state and federal workers not only provide the fabric that knits our common community together, we are also one of the last effective institutions of working class power.

Having decimated industrial unions and viciously fought service unions, today’s robber barons, aka the nation’s richest 1%, have now taken aim at public sector workers – our university employees, teachers, firefighters, nurses and other essential positions. These corporate forces aim to privatize our public institutions, but public sector unions stand in the way. From privatized for-profit prisons buying politicians to legislate longer jail sentences (so they can make more money), to our nuclear weapons’ research used for profit instead of national security, corporations have already infiltrated every level of our government. The results are usually the same: greater cost, less service, and most importantly, greatly reduced accountability.

UPTE-CWA was not affected by the Supreme Court’s home health care worker decision on fair share dues, but additional court challenges are pending that may affect us. Since fair share legislation became the law California, public workers have organizied to win better pay increases, greatly improved job security and safer retirements. Without all workers in represented units contributing fair share dues, these remarkable achievements would not have been possible.

(2) Membership For All
UPTE-CWA endeavors to speak with all employees shortly after they are hired. We get dues money from everyone, so it our obligation to provide them with information about their contract and the opportunity to join the union so they have a say. Many new employees assume that because they pay “fair share” union fees, they are union members.

To be a member, you must sign an UPTE membership form. If you haven’t done so yet, fill one out (UC Employees) (Community College Faculty) and send it to UPTE.

Members of the UPTE bargaining units work in nearly every building on every campus and at many remote locations. With the scanty contact information we receive from the administration, we face challenges reaching everyone face to face. Help us and yourselves by contacting your local UPTE.

(3) UPTE Summer Retreat: Come Learn and Plan with UPTE Activists from Across the State

The weekend of August 9-10, 2014, UPTE activists will convene at UC Santa Cruz for a Summer Retreat that will include special guest speakers, numerous skills workshops and musical entertainment.

All UPTE-CWA members are welcome to attend. Sign up using the registration form on our website.
Summer Retreat

(4) UPTE-CWA Bargaining for Respect at Community Colleges

UPTE represents community college contingent faculty members at three California community colleges. They work for poverty wages with no job security, with overall compensation of about 25% that of tenured faculty who teach the same course with the same qualifications. They have no guarantee that they will be re-hired from semester to semester. In fact, their employment is so tenuous that the state has determined they may receive unemployment benefits during the summer and winter breaks. They also have no offices are paid for only a couple hours of office hours per semester. (Learn more about them in this UPTE report.)

Currently, bargaining teams at all three of our community colleges have proposed raises and other equity measures to create greater equality. Our members have become active attending Board of Trustee meetings and building coalition with student groups.

At two of our colleges, management has already offered us larger raises than the tenured faculty. That’s a start.

(5) TPP Scary Secrets

Have you heard of the TPP? Most people haven’t.
This new trade deal could not only export thousands of US jobs, but outlaw our environmental regulations, food safety rules, restrict generic drug and, of course, undermine our ability to bargain for decent jobs here in the US. President Obama has requested fast track authority for this 12 nation deal that not a single legislator has even seen because the discussion our shrouded in utmost secrecy with only 600 corporate experts having access and input.

Opposition from many groups, including leadership from our national union, Communications Workers of America, as well as the Sierra Club, has put pressure on congress to not provide fast track authority. After Wikileaks exposed the complete text of the proposed agreement, opposition spread quickly. You can review the press and additional information.

If you have not yet signed the petition against fast track, please do so now at the CWA website.
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.