Frequently Asked Questions about Unionizing with University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE)-CWA Local 9119
Why are Student Services Professional staff organizing with UPTE?
- UPTE has a strong record of negotiating regular pay increases for employees.
- UPTE supports restoring a strong public higher education system in California that provides high quality, accessible and affordable education for all who qualify
- UPTE-represented members enjoy a fair and transparent step-based pay system in which employees with satisfactory or better performance move up a scale of negotiated wage increases.
- Unionized employees have the protection of a contract and guaranteed representation by an experienced representative when needed for meetings with management. UPTE represents the collective strength of 13,000 UPTE colleagues at UC and three California community colleges as part of 700,000 members in CWA, our national union.
How long will it take to unionize student services professionals at UC?
- The law gives us one year to collect enough cards to either win representation outright or call for an election. That is not a long time. There is much groundwork s to be laid and wide participation is critical.
How do I show my support for UPTE?
- To win representation outright a majority (50% +1) of eligible employees need to sign an authorization card or petition. This is called “card check.”
- To call for an election 30% of eligible employees need to sign a card.
Note: Sign the authorization card only if you plan to vote “yes” in an election.
How much are union dues and when do I start paying them?
- Newly unionized employees do not begin paying dues until we negotiate and vote to approve our first contract.
- Dues will be $20 per month. Dues will increase by $5 in years that we negotiate at least a 2% pay increase.
- Our dues will be capped at 1.3% of your annual salary.
What are our dues used for?
- Our dues allow us to conduct successful bargaining, education, and representation work. Dues are not used for political purposes.
Do I have to join the union? I heard that I have to pay even if I choose not to be a member – is that true?
- The more members we have, the more successful we will be at the bargaining table and in our campaigns to support public higher education.
- Nobody is required to join the union. Under current law, if you decide not to become a member you will pay what is called “fair share fees.” As members of the group of employees who benefit from bargaining with UC (raises, benefits and job protections) employees should pay their fair share to cover the costs of bargaining, research, education, and representation.
If I sign the UPTE-CWA authorization card do I become a member?
- Signing an authorization card means that you want UPTE to represent your interests with UC management and that you will vote for UPTE in a union election.
- To become a union member you can fill out a separate membership application.
If I sign the authorization card will my supervisor know?
- The authorization cards will be submitted directly to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), the state agency charged with administering either an election or certifying that a majority of the eligible employees have signed an authorization card.
I am a contract employee. Does this apply to me?
Will the union interfere with my career development?
- UPTE strongly supports reclassification and other forms of career development. UPTE’s “Wage Workshops” provide information to unrepresented employees about reclassification, equity increases, administrative stipends, and other ways to build your UC career (and your paycheck!).
- UPTE-represented researchers have negotiated contract language that requires management to conduct classification reviews of Staff Research Associate (SRA) 1’s to see if they should be reclassified to SRA 2.
How does being in a union help us support UC’s missions?
- Negotiating regular pay increases and stable benefits encourages skilled employees to remain at UC, strengthening the institutional knowledge and experience base. Constant turnover undermines our ability to support students and research. Building UC careers builds support for UC’s missions.
- UPTE has advocated for freezing tuition for students through its support for the “Reclaim the Master Plan for Higher Education” campaign.
For additional questions, contact us at info@sspUPTE.org.