HX Bargaining Report #10 – August 9-10, 2012

HX Bargaining Report #10
UCOP (August 9-10, 2012)

The contract meeting between the University Professionals and Technical Employees Healthcare Professionals Unit (UPTE HX) and University of California (UC) resumed at the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) in Oakland from Aug 9 to Aug 10, 2012 after a 5-month hiatus. This was the 10th such meeting after the contract negotiation stalled last March when UC refused to offer a short term contract or wage increases without accepting a two-tier pension policy in 2013. UPTE HX cannot accept the proposed changes to the post employment benefits (PEB) proposed by UC, specifically the 2013 Tier Pension Plan and the reduced retiree healthcare. UC has refused to agree on a short-term contract ending at the end of 2012 to allow UPTE HX to bargain the PEB jointly with California Nurses Association (CNA) and AFSME.

This disagreement on the PEB continues to exist between UC and UPTE HX, so during this round of contract meeting, both sides focused on the non-economic issues. UPTE HX believes that the two-tier pension will hurt current UC employees as well as future employees hired after July 1, 2013. For that reason, UPTE HX maintains a position to not negotiate the two-tier pension and the reduced retiree healthcare without having more fiduciary facts on the current pension as well as the proposed second tier pension.

As a result, the focus on non-economic issues are expected to dominate theses meetings until the final report from the third party actuary, recently hired jointly by UPTE, CNA and AFSME, is available. The coalition of unions believes the third party actuary should be able to shed light on the validity of UC’s claim on the “under-funded” state of our pension plan and give a clearer picture of the financial health of our pension plan. This final report from the actuary is expected in a few months. Both sides hope to hammer out a deal concerning economic issues including the PEB once this report from the third party actuary becomes available and UPTE can make a real counter pension and retiree healthcare proposal.

HX submitted a Side Letter requesting a wage increase for all of HX of 3.5% now and in exchange the union will agree to a long term contract, begin negotiations on the 2013 PEB as soon as we are able to make a valid counter-proposal and begin contributing the additional 1.5% UCRP contribution that the rest of UC employees have started paying. UC responded that there will be no wage increases for any reason until we agree to the 2013 pension proposal. HX then requested that wage grid and step system be put in place for the new Dietitian II and Sr. Dietitians as their entry into UPTE last September has absolutely nothing to do with the UC’s 2013 PEB demands. Again, UC reiterated there will be no wage increases for anyone until the 2013 PEB are resolved. An Unfair labor Practice charge has been filed by UPTE with PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) and is in the process of being argued by both parties.

Because we are not anticipating an easy or speedy resolution to the 2013 two-tier pension fight; because you have not had and deserve a wage increase in 2012; because the new Dietitians are being held hostage by the UC’s unfair demands regarding their wage increases; because we fully intend to work in unity with our union coalition members, we ask you to please sign the strike pledge card.

You must be a member of UPTE to sign a strike pledge card and have an opportunity to vote on whether you want to strike or not. You can download a membership form here.

Without a current contract, UPTE HX employees continue to remain in “status quo” or working without a contract, which means that the employer cannot impose any changes in respect to your wages, working conditions, work rules, uniforms, hours of work or shift changes until a new contract is signed. If any such changes are pending or have taken place since February 17, 2012, when the contract expired, please let Wendi Felson, Chief Negotiator know. It also means we are no longer held to the “No Strikes” article.

The next round of contract talks is scheduled for two days from August 30th to Aug 31st, 2012 at UCSF. It is unlikely that the final report from the third party actuary will be available at that time, so both sides are expected to focus on non-financial portions of the contract. We also want a strong showing of members on the 31st. We will be celebrating Labor Day at UCSF’s bargaining session and we want to send a message to UC that holding up our wages over a lesser pension system and reduced retiree healthcare program for new and some current members in 2013 is not acceptable. The other four Medical Centers will be holding Labor Day picnics, contact your local bargaining representative for more information.

Your bargaining team:
Wendi Felson, Clinical Laboratory Scientist (retired), Chief Negotiator
Jamie McDole, Case Manager, Davis
Sonia Palacio, Clinical Social Worker, Irvine
Tom Brewer, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Los Angeles
TK Lee, Pharmacist, San Diego
Jason Rosenbury, Clinical Social Worker, San Francisco
Susan Rode, Student Health Centers

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