UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: December 19, 2014
Support Students and California’s Future: Sign Petition to Stop Student Fee Increases!

Student fees at UC have increased 250% in the last decade. Student debt nationally has now surpassed credit card debt. Graduation rates are down, and diversity remains unfulfilled. Education is the engine of California’s economic growth. We need a vision that gets students and the entire state back on track. We need to refund and revitalize the Master Plan for Higher Education.

We need to reverse the trend of replacing state support with higher student fees. Instead, let’s cut student fees and return to historic levels of state funding!

You can start by signing this staff and faculty petition to UC President Napolitano and the UC Regents asking that they withdraw their proposal to increase student fees. They should vote to lower student fees if the state increases funding.

Next spring, join fellow union members to advocate in Sacramento and in local legislative offices for increased state support for UC, CSU and the community colleges.

Impoverished Associate Faculty: How About Office Hours?
Associate or adjunct faculty have assumed a large portion of the teaching at our state’s community colleges. But they are paid little to nothing for office hours, short-changing the students. While associate faculty have the same qualifications as tenured faculty and teach the same courses, their students do not receive the critical support that prepares them for a career or transfer to UC or CSU.

The community college administration and all the unions representing community college faculty (including UPTE-CWA), have called on the Legislature and the governor to provide extra funds for office hours in next year’s budget. The governor has focused on measuring and attaining student success. Nothing contributes to student success more than one-on-one contact with faculty.

More than 3,000 students signed a petition in a week at Butte Community College demanding office hours. The movement to support associate faculty has gathered momentum nationwide and paid office hours is a first, modest step to change their exploitation.

Affording Health Care After Retirement from UC

Thanks to UPTE members’ activism and support, we stopped UC’s effort to take away 5 years of our retirement benefits. Now, we can turn to ensuring that we have quality and affordable health care after retirement. From dramatic inflation of monthly premiums to ever increasing co-pays, health care is becoming more unaffordable. UPTE’s contract settlement last year allows us to bargain with UC over funding the Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund so that we can set aside a very modest contribution to offset future health care costs.

The Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund is similar to a pension fund, in that it can make investment income, and even small contributions made over a long period of time can amount to considerable savings. Stay tuned: we begin bargaining in January.

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.