RX/TX Bargaining Report #13
UCOP (October 9, 2013)

On October 9th UPTE's TX/RX bargaining team met with the University at UCOP in Oakland for a one-day session. UPTE submitted four more articles as well as some of the LBNL specific sections of our proposals. UC is adamantly opposed to bargaining LBNL issues along with the rest of UC. And UPTE feels strongly that TX/RX members who work at LBNL should not be separated off from entire bargaining negotiations.

In the afternoon we heard a presentation by UCOP’s healthcare experts on the features of the 2014 healthcare changes. UPTE team members asked many questions. We are disappointed that Health Net will not be available as a 2014 option, nor will Sutter Health be offered. However, the new plan, UC Care, is something UPTE has been promoting for quite some time. Who best provides healthcare, UC does!

UC then submitted another Benefits and Pension proposal. This newest version of Article 4 includes the same two-tier pension proposal and retiree healthcare. It also included new language regarding negotiating over the 2014 and 2015 healthcare plans; but requires UPTE to just accept, without negotiations, whatever UC will propose for 2016 and 2017 with no say (i.e. a waiver).

UC asked if we had changed our position on pension and healthcare. We stated we have not as we provided a perfectly sustainable pension and retiree healthcare proposal that pays for itself with no additional costs to UC. In fact the UCRP will gain additional contributions under our plan over their 2013 plan until 2018 and longer. We were then told to expect to see UC filing for impasse because they will not accept our counter proposal which they called “altruistic and noble.”

During all of the negotiations UC has pushed for impasse, even right at the beginning of last December. They constantly complained that we were not bargaining fast enough. Yet, when you look at the numbers, they have done very little except complain, push for impasse and remain willfully obstinate over our retirement benefits. No further bargaining dates were set as UC refuses to negotiate any further. To summarize: UC wants us to accept their second tier pension and retiree healthcare plan for a 2% step increase (if you are lucky enough to actually be on a step system and not topped out).

UPTE’s current proposal is a 4-year contract with annual 4% raises for all members in the first two years, and annual 3% raises for the last two years. UPTE also proposes annual step increases for those who are eligible. Finally, UPTE proposes a step increase when members reach 15, 20, 25, etc., years of service at UC.  Check UPTE’s website for a more complete summary of bargaining proposals, past bargaining reports, etc.

UC proposes only step increases for those who are eligible. When combined with their proposal to take an additional 3% of pay for pension contributions, UC is proposing a pay cut for many of our members. Not only is this proposal insulting, but UC’s latest memo claims UPTE is asking for a total of 22% in raises plus step increases which is not correct.

UPTE’s math says 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 = 14. Does UC math explain why we’re unable to agree on raises and retirement cuts? Or is UC trying to mislead our members?

UC has pushed for impasse throughout bargaining, beginning with our first meeting in December, 2012. They constantly have complained UPTE isn’t trying hard enough. In fact, UC has done little except complain, push for impasse, and insist on their retirement cuts.

As members in the RX and TX units with an expired contract, you legally have the right to participate in sympathy strikes with our Healthcare Professional brothers and sisters or with other unions’ legal strikes. See your union representative to help, voice your opinions and get involved.

Stand tall for our right to have what was promised us when we were hired.
Since the contract expired on June 30th, we are in “STATUS QUO.”  This means UC cannot make any changes to your workplace, scheduling, work rules, uniforms, parking, etc. If UC wants to make a change, they must notify UPTE and allow us the opportunity to bargain each issue separately. Since UC will fail to notify us for the most part, we rely on you to let us know of changes UC makes without our consent. When UC implements new changes after July 1st, say parking rate increases, without notifying us and holding a bargaining session, then it is a status quo violation. Once we get enough status quo violations, we can file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with PERB (Public Employment Relations Board). If there is a change to the terms and conditions at your workplace or if you just aren’t sure if it qualifies as a change, let me know. UC does not need to know how we received the information. For more information, see this primer on Status Quo.

Please let us know what changes are being made at your department! This will help us to fight for all our rights! Get informed!

Your bargaining team:
Wendi Felson, UCSF (ret.), Chief Negotiator
Jim Hockridge, Principal Television Technician (TX), Berkeley
Paul Brooks, Spectroscopist (RX), Berkeley
Karen Galbreath, Animal Health Technician (TX), Davis
Vanessa Bakula, Staff Research Associate (RX), Davis
Erik Lawrence, Senior Wardrobe Technician (TX), Irvine
Mike Dupray, Principal Radiation Control Technician (TX), LBNL
Mike Fehr, Computer Resource Specialist (TX), Los Angeles
Jie Luo, Staff Research Associate (RX), Los Angeles
Tonya Greene-Tucker, Clinical Research Coordinator (RX), San Diego
Jimmy Leo-Castillo, Principal Electronic Technician (TX), San Diego
Paul Phojanakong, Laboratory Assistant (TX), San Francisco
Elisa Cleveland, Staff Research Associate (RX), San Francisco
Damion Miller, Principal Electronics Technician (TX), Santa Barbara
Erik Kovacs, Principal Telescope Technician (TX), Santa Cruz