Thursday, February 25, 2010

UPTE-CWA Gains Tentative Contract at UC After 2-Year Fight

It took two years of tough bargaining, but University Professional and Technical Employees/CWA Local 9119 won a tentative agreement last week covering 9,000 researchers and technicians at the University of California.

The five-year agreement provides for pay increases of 14.5 percent over the contract term, plus a $1,000 lump sum payment to be paid this July.

The tentative settlement will be sent to members for a ratification vote.

"Local 9119 achieved this settlement during the worst economy in the history of California. I'm proud of the bargaining committee, the local leadership and everything they have done to protect members," said CWA District 9 Vice President Jim Weitkamp.

Progress in bargaining was delayed by university officials who refused to fairly address workers' concerns about their pay and retirement security.

Union members kept up a constant mobilization campaign, lobbied the state legislature, and gained public and community support through a media campaign.

In other improvements, the contract sets up a $1.7 million equity pool to help address pay inequities for workers in some job titles. The university will contribute 4 percent into the workers' pension plan this year, and has agreed to match or exceed additional one percent contributions by employees in 2011 and 2012.

The contract also limits increases in workers' health benefits and parking fees.

"This is a great agreement, especially considering the terrible state of California's economy," said UPTE-CWA Local 9119 President Jelger Kalmijn. "We won good raises and placed real limits on how much the university can charge for health care and other benefits. We will continue to fight for workers at UC, especially in the area of job security," he added.

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