Union Builder Communicator: February 26, 2016
Zone contact webinar: Attack on public unions, service and pensions!
Sign up for our zone contact webinar to get the latest critical information about efforts to undermine our work as public servants and what we are doing in response. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, March 2 from noon to 1PM and repeats on Thursday, March 3 from 7PM to 8PM. Plan to get on 15 minutes early if possible to work through any technical issues so you can see the presentation.
Sign up for either Wedneday, March 2 at noon or Thursday, March 3 at 7PM.

Pension under attack, again
When an employer lets new workers opt out of the pension plan and promises current employees it won’t hurt their pension, who believes them? No one!

Why is UC making such a proposal?
UC executives say the plan will help it be a competitive employer. Competitive for whom? Anyone who plans to stay at UC benefits greatly from the current pension. Outing out of the pension only serves those who make enough money without it, or don’t plan to stay at UC, or who already have another pension. They want to work a couple years and spike their retirement investments. That is, the 1% at UC.

The rest of us 99% are delighted by and depend on our UC pension as our main source of income when we retire.

Those of us who stay the 5 years required to vest in the pension plan benefit from having contributions accrue 6% interest and come back to us with interest when we leave. We know that if UC’s “defined benefit” pension plan disappears other employers will follow suit. Very few private employers have an active “defined benefit” pension plan.

UC executives say this will save money. In fact, in the short and medium term, their own analysis reveals this plan will cost money. Only after decades of workers being excluded from having a pension does the plan save any money.

UPTE, working with the other UC unions, is strongly opposing having new employees opt of the pension plan. The faculty have also spoken out against this proposal.

Because UPTE-represented workers have a union contract, UC must bargain any changes to the pension plan with the union.

Union-busting Supreme Court case averted for the moment
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia our ability to collect fair share fees from non-members benefiting from our contracts will likely survive. The case of Friedrichs v CTA is on the court docket for this session. We had expected a 5 to 4 decision against all public sector unions. A tie vote on the court means the lower court ruling stands and fair share will continue.

While we have dodged this bullet, our opponents have many more they plan to shoot our way. The issue of fair share and payroll deduction are under assault all over the country. In all likelihood this or a similar challenge will face us again soon.

The best defense we can offer is to sign up all our unit workers as members and get them supportive of the union.

Support reviving higher education enrollment and funding
Our broad coalition to re-claim higher education has launched a petition and legislative campaign to push for enrollment increases at all 3 higher education systems in California. Experts predict that California will have a deficit of 1 million bachelor degrees within a decade. The coalition seeks to build broad support to return higher education to the free opportunity that is was 40 years ago.

Sign the petition! Come help us collect signatures on March 8 and/or March 9 on your campus.

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This e-publication was prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn. Contact him if you have any questions or comments.
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UPTE-CWA 9119  |  P.O. Box 4443, Berkeley, CA 94704 | 510.704.8783  |  info@upte-cwa.org