UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: May 07, 2015
The State Economy Has Recovered -- Now It’s Time for Higher Education
Over the past 30 years, the state has cut funding per student in half at UC. Each time the state suffers economic woes, UC’s budget has been cut or frozen. When the state economy has recovered, UC’s budget has not. We need short-term and long-term budget solutions. This year, the Reclaim Higher Education Coalition is lobbying for an additional $150 million, while UC has requested an additional $97 million.

Legislators say higher education is one of their top priorities for spending budget surplus. Our efforts in Sacramento have begun to pay off. Please sign the Reclaim Higher Education petition to support fully funded, tuition-free higher education. Join UPTE on visits to legislators’ district offices or Sacramento. When legislators hear real stories of our dedication to public service and the need for adequate pay to keep quality staff, it makes an impact.

In the long-term, we need to develop a ballot initiative that will guarantee funding so we don’t have to compete with other important social services for resources every year. The Reclaim Higher Education Coalition has heard presentations from groups seeking to extend the Proposition 30 tax increases, increasing commercial property tax for large business, legalizing marijuana and an oil extraction tax. In the near future, the coalition will make decisions about which to support. Whichever strategy is adopted, we know there will be stiff opposition from corporate California. Our education and engagement will be critical to success.

A Union Activist in Every Work Place and Full Membership
UPTE strives to have as many members activists as possible in every workplace –  members who stay current on the latest UC/DOE lab/community college and union news and keep their co-workers informed. Do you know who the activists (we call them “zone contacts”) are for your work area?

With our engaged UPTE membership, we have achieved a 1000% return on our dues. Our dues are 1.3% (some are capped lower), while at UC we have won 26% greater salary increases than have non-union UC employees. For someone making $50K a year, starting 10 years ago this salary difference adds up to an astonishing additional $50K in total income over the 10-year period.

Many of our co-workers do not know that they are not union members unless they sign an UPTE membership form.  If someone in your work area has not yet signed up, encourage them to do so right away. Here’s the online membership form.

If we want to continue our tremendous success, we need to achieve full membership. When colleagues sign up for union membership, it sends a message to our employer that we care about our pay and working conditions. Membership gives us the collective power to achieve our bargaining goals.

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.