UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: December 09, 2015
Who Should Our Union Endorse For President: Last Chance To Vote!
Tomorrow is the last day to participate in our national union’s presidential endorsement website poll.  UPTE-CWA is a local of the Communications Workers of America which has about 600,000 members and will have an important impact on the election for US President next year. Our union has strongly encouraged broad participation to have as representative a poll as possible. The poll only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Can you do it now?

UPTE-CWA has already voted to support Bernie Sanders because of his trail-blazing support for free higher education. His consistent positions that support working people and confront the 1% who have bankrolled the campaigns for many of the other candidates convinced us. We want to encourage the ground-swell of support for his common-sense solutions to our economic and political problems from the point of view of working people. He has forced both the Washington insiders and the billionaire contributors to take note of our agenda.

While our local has made an early endorsement, UPTE-CWA encourages all our members to carefully review and consider the positions of all the candidates. The polling website includes answers to a standard set of questions created by the AFL-CIO (national union federation).

When participating in the poll, you do not need to enter the last four digits of your social security number; alternatively, you can use the last four digits of your UC ID. Also the poll asks for your local number. We are local ‘9119’ of CWA.

All Out For Membership Recruitment As Supreme Court Weighs Future For Public Sector and Our Unions
We have yet to welcome and offer membership to thousands of those who benefit from our contracts at UC and the community colleges. With employees scattered all over the state and a high turnover of employment, we have had difficulty in holding the crucial one-on-one conversation to explain our contracts and the importance of membership.

We have received assistance from our national union which has provided us with a grant to hire part-time UPTE-CWA and other CWA members to walk around our workplaces to help find everyone. This will help.

Even with this assistance, the key membership recruiters will always be us, the members. If you work with someone who is covered by an UPTE-CWA contract, make sure they are a member. You can download the membership form and email in a picture or scan.

Our membership recruitment has become much more urgent as the Supreme Court considers a case (Friedrichs v CTA) that will compel unions to represent bargaining unit employees even if they don’t pay for that representation. We will have great difficulty in winning the excellent contracts that we have enjoyed if our resources are dramatically curtailed because the thousands of employees we have not been able to find won’t be contributing financially to the success of our negotiations.

Worse yet, the important work we do to defend public higher education in general will suffer. Public worker unions have taken leadership as the strongest advocates of the public services we all rely on from public safety to transportation. Those backing this lawsuit intend to eviscerate both public employees and the services they provide so the 1% can take a great share of the wealth.

We do not use our dues for electoral purposes but what happens in Sacramento and Washington DC has an overwhelming impact on higher education. If you have not already done so, sign up to contribute to our political action fund so that we can ensure budgets and laws that support higher education. We cannot match the billionaires one for one, but if many of us contribute a modest amount we can have an impact. You can sign up for a minimum of $5 per month (though more is encouraged!).

UC Has Miscalculated Overtime Pay For Years
The Department of Labor has been involved in resolving incorrectly calculated overtime pay for thousands of UC workers. Employees who received supplemental pay such as shift differentials or incentive awards while working overtime, were not paid the premium rate for the supplemental pay.

UC wants to only reimburse individuals for the last three years of this error although they admit the miscalculation was a function of their payroll system in place for the last 35 years. UPTE will file a grievance demanding that UC pay for all the overtime pay they were short-changed. We will submit information requests to discover the details and full extent of the errors.

If you believe that you have been impacted by this error, please contact your local UPTE office or steward so that we can follow up and make sure you get paid.

Call On UC President Napolitano To Stop Sexual Harassment
The recent public revelations of a long history of sexual harassment and abuse by UC Berkeley professor Geoff Marcy demonstrate UC has not taken necessary actions to avoid and punish this gross misconduct. The University of California should have an aggressive policy of prevention including education for the entire community and consequences for those who perpetrate sexual harassment.

The university cannot sustain a positive image to the public and protect faculty bringing in major grant funds. Only thorough investigation and follow through on acts deemed inappropriate will restore the lack of confidence the case of Geoff Marcy has generated.

UPTE-CWA encourages all our members to sign the open letter to UC President Napolitano calling on her to take immediate effect steps to prevent sexual harassment at the University.

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.