Report from the Executive Board: May 2012
As the academic year winds down, the Executive Board took time this month to discuss and share updates on the major campaigns our local is currently engaging in: the fight to defend public education and our recent action at the UC Regents meeting, GSR organizing, membership outreach, planning for our next contract campaign and organizing against overwork of our members. We also discussed plans for summer organizing in addition to our regular discussions of the local’s budget and finances. Here are short descriptions of our major topics of discussion. For more detail, any member can receive a copy of the full minutes of the meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact a member of the Executive Board.
Public Education and the UC Regents
On May 16th, UAW 2865 members from as far away as UC Irvine made the trip to Sacramento to protest the Regents continued discussions of tuition increases as the solution to budget cuts by the State. We were joined by UC staff members represented by UPTE and AFSCME as well as by undergraduate students. Dressed in orange jumpsuits to call attention to the threats of jail time being levied against protestors at UC Davis and the debt prison that many students are being forced into by increased tuition, our coalition addressed the Regents with stories of the police force used against us and our colleagues and demanded that the Regents become proactive in the fight to increase state funding for the UC.
Our presence at the Regents meeting is just one aspect of our local’s broader work in the movement to defend public education. We are working with UCUC (the UC Union Coalition) and UCSA (the UC Student Association) in making a series of demands from the university and the State, advocating for increased accountability measures in the UC budget, $90 million to fund pensions for low wage workers in the UC, no more outsourcing of UC jobs, and limits on out of state student enrollment.
Extending our work to other sections of public education, we also discussed the need for our local to support the California Faculty Association (faculty in the CSU system) and the SF Teacher’s union, both organizations having recently approved strike calls.
Our local is continuing efforts to get SB 259 passed by the California State legislature, the bill which would extend collective bargaining rights to graduate student researchers in the UC system. Our members have been travelling to Sacramento to meet with legislators about the importance of the bill which is currently under discussion by the appropriations committee. The bill will hopefully to go a vote by the full assembly this August.
2013 Contract Campaign
Though our current contract doesn’t expire until October, 2013, around the state our members and officers have already begun planning for the next round of contract negotiations. Our bargaining team has begun meeting statewide to develop a bargaining survey which will help determine the major issues for next year’s bargaining. Several issues are already coming up again and again in conversations among our members: improving our health care plan, access to affordable housing, and protecting the quality of education at UC by combatting cuts of TA and GSI positions and increased class sizes. At the May meeting of the UC Regents, Provost Larry Pitts reported that the number of lecturer and TA positions around the UC system has decreased by 3% in the last two years!
Over the summer and throughout the fall, every campus will be engaging in conversations with our members (in person, in department and membership meetings, in town hall discussions and through the survey) about bargaining priorities. If you are interested in learning more about bargaining or want to participate in these conversations, please get in touch with your campus leadership!