UAW


To the elections committee, the incumbent Executive Board, Regional Director Jim Wells
and International Representatives Mike Miller and Ken Lang:

We are members of UAW 2865 from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. We
are writing from the statewide office of our local where members have been present since
9am. At 11:30am today more than 100 members rallied on Berkeley campus and more
than 60 joined the ongoing sit down in the office to make one demand: count our votes.

We understand that the USEJ candidates and Daraka Larimore-Hall have publicly
committed in an email sent Saturday night to resume the vote count, and Mike Miller has
expressed his commitment to resuming the vote count as soon as possible in a call with
Cheryl Deutsch and Charlie Eaton today. We are very happy to hear this commitment.
From the moment that Travis Knowles, chair of the elections committee, passed an out of
order motion to end the vote count and then abandon the ballots we have been waiting for
the vote count to resume.

We believe that the vote count must resume immediately and we are committed to remain
in our union office until the counting of the votes is finished. We find it outrageous that
the elections committee left the vote count without any plan for ensuring the security of
the ballots at the UCLA union office. It has been left up to the goodwill of members—
the same members who are being accused of disrupting the vote count—to secure and
monitor the ballots.

We take inspiration from the sit down strikes of the 1930s upon which UAW’ s strength
was founded that showed that the best way to enforce our rights as workers and union
members is to take collective action. As union members we affirm our right to be in
our union office, especially at this moment when so many members are confused,
disappointed and frustrated and are seeking to discuss and coordinate our response to this
shocking suspension of our democratic rights.

Of course, we also believe that the organizing and clerical staff of the local have every
right to be here and continue their work given that our presence in no way impedes their
work. It goes without saying that we will respect this space which after all belongs to us,
the members.

We await your immediate reply affirming your commitment to restart the vote count.

Members of UAW 2865

Right now, a group of students is holding an indefinite sit in at statewide UAW office in Berkeley. We are UAW members and AWDU supporters, and we are demanding that all votes be counted. Right now, the elections committee is refusing to count all the ballots from both UCLA and UC Berkeley, meaning that nearly half of the votes from the recent election have not been counted. This means that nearly half of all students who voted do not get a say in who will run our union for the next three years. This is outrageous and unacceptable.

I urge you to make the short trip up to Berkeley to join us. We are at 2070 Allston Way, Suite 205, in Berkeley. We need to send a strong message that ALL our voices must be heard.

In addition, there is a RALLY happening at Berkeley right now. You can find details about the rally here: http://berkeleyuaw.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/today-may-2-2011-rally-to-count-all-the-votes/

In Solidarity,
Jessy Lancaster, Former Recording Secretary

An open letter to UAW 2865 Elections Committee chair Travis Knowles

***

Travis:

Last night three members of the elections committee hastily abandoned the vote count underway at the UCLA office without counting any ballots from Berkeley or UCLA. You presented three motions, certifying the results of the election which had already been tabulated, referring the count to the next Joint Council meeting, and adjourning the meeting. None of these motions passed, since only three members of the committee participated in the “votes.” These “votes” were conducted over the course of less than 10 seconds without any time for discussion or even time for the other three members of the committee to be informed about what was happening. The proposed motion referring the election to the Joint Council is in violation of the UAW constitution, which stipulates, “All elections shall be held under the supervision of a democratically elected Election Committee” (Article 38, Section 15 c). Section 11 stipulates, “Following each election, the Election Committee shall report in writing the canvass of the results of the election to the membership’s next membership meeting.”

The three members of the committee who abandoned the count are in violation of the constitution and are impeding the work of the committee. Please return to the UCLA office immediately to resume the count.

If you refuse to resume the count, I would ask that you submit your resignations effective immediately.

Adam Hefty
Santa Cruz Election Committee member

I’ve been catching a lot of flak lately in the form of politically motivated attacks about private emails I’ve written which have been forwarded, distorted, and characterized out of context, so I decided to make my latest report on the goings-on in the UAW 2865 elections committee a public note.

In short, the committee agreed to an election protocol which has few serious protections against vote tampering, despite strenuous objections. Despite the fact that we are a very large, complicated local with many worksites, next week’s election is highly contested, and our most recent statewide vote was challenged as containing irregularities by members from around the state, the committee was not interested in listening to serious proposals for change.

It’s worth pointing out that when objections were raised at the vote count for December’s ratification vote and at January’s Joint Council meeting, the leadership of the union said repeatedly: “These are very legitimate concerns moving forward; you should raise them on the elections committee, where they belong.” Well, they’ve now been raised on the elections committee, and most of the concerns raised were dismissed without a serious hearing.

There are two substantial changes from the procedure we followed for the contract ratification vote. 1) All ballots, not just challenged ballots, will be placed inside two envelopes: a small envelope to guarantee vote privacy, and a larger one which the voter will sign. This measure is designed to prevent voters from voting twice in the same day at different polling places, given that several copies of the voting list will be circulating on each campus. 2) Each voting period will have its own ballot box, which will be used only once and then (supposedly) sealed until the vote count. Though I wonder how San Diego and Berkeley elections reps are going to travel to a central location in the state, possibly on a plane, carrying 25-30 ballot boxes. (more…)

Over the last few months, we’ve all noticed the increased volume of emails from UAW Local 2865 Statewide Leadership to the membership, with many of the messages focusing on social justice issues (such as the fight to protect collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin).  While I am always pleased to see our union pay more attention to social and economic justice, it is no coincidence that this sudden surge coincides with the mobilizing done by AWDU and follows a rank-and-file challenge to a complacent Executive Board during the contract ratification vote.  Our union leadership is suddenly worried–worried that all the effort they didn’t put into organizing, mobilization, and social justice over the past decade could cause them to lose power in the upcoming elections.  And so now, at least until the May elections, they are going to act like the leadership that we’ve been demanding for years.

Thus, we have today’s “Action Alert” email from the UAW leadership.  Here is the complete text, as sent to members at Berkeley and Santa Cruz:

SAY NO TO REGENT DESIGNEE DAVID CRANE

As academic student employees face the results of years of budget cuts and fee increases, we rely heavily on the gains made through collective bargaining to fight back against the ever-increasing attacks on higher education and on the public sector in general.  We can’t afford to be complacent about defending our right to organize and bargain collectively. The nation-wide movement to eliminate that right has powerful friends here in California- even right here at the U.C.

On his way out the door, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed multi-millionaire investor David Crane to the UC board of Regents. Following the lead of Wisconsin Governor Walker, Crane recently authored an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle calling for the elimination of collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.

In response Crane’s op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has mounted a campaign to prevent Crane’s confirmation to the Board of Regents.

“I thought we had already seen the height of arrogance by UC Regents,” said Yee in a press release. “It is time for Regent Crane to put away his Wisconsin playbook and come down from his ivory tower.”

“While the Regents have approved million dollar contracts for their top administrators, they allow many UC workers and their families to live in poverty,” said Yee.  “Now, Regent Crane wants to take away their only avenue to earning a livable wage and a respectable retirement – their collective bargaining rights.”

Source: <http://dist08.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC>

In times like these, the UC needs leadership that understands the challenges facing higher education, and will stick up for ordinary Californians. Instead, the Board of Regents is chock full of ideologues and wealthy friends of the Governor.

We urge our members to join Senator Yee in calling for a “no” vote on Crane’s confirmation. Our colleagues at AFSCME Local 3299, representing service and health care employees at the UC have set up an online letter to California Senate President Pro-Tempore Darrell Steinberg. Tell Senator Steinberg: Don’t let Crane silence our voices!  Take action to stop Crane’s confirmation and protect the vital services provided at the UC and in our communities by public employees!

Make no mistake: we can and should fight–and fight HARD–against the appointment of David Crane as UC Regent.  However, the problem is that this email doesn’t actually offer any resources to do that!  We are told to “tell Senator Steinberg” to oppose Crane.  How?  What is his phone number?  His email?  We are told that AFSCME Local 3299 has set up an online petition.  Where?  How do we sign it?  In other words, our leadership sent us an “Action Alert” that doesn’t actually contain in it any resources for action.

On the one hand, I don’t want to make too big a deal out of an omission in an email that was probably written in haste.  On the other hand, the most important part of this email is the part that got omitted.  The result is a message that invites member participation and simultaneously provides no resources for it.

And it’s not just this email.  Most of the Bargaining Updates from the last contract campaign ended with a stock phrase about “getting involved” and an exhortation to contact your campus office–without mentioning, of course, that there were almost never any actions for members to take if you did call.  And then there was the recent email to the membership about the California state budget that ended with this rousing call to action: “once further details are available, we will let you know.”  These are calls to action that, for the most part, are missing the action.

While I am glad that our Executive Board has a newly-discovered willingness to email the membership, I think we could ask for a bit more.  And while including basic resources (like Senator contact information or petition URLs) in a call to action would be an improvement, this too seems like setting the bar too low.  Our goal should be a union in which the members decide what actions to take and how to take those actions.  While we should certainly make lobbying phone calls to Senator Steinberg and while we should all sign an online petition (N.B., sign here), we could go beyond this.  We could talk with each other about what we could do on our own campuses and beyond.  We could work with our students and our colleagues.  We could plan our own actions.  In other words, we could organize ourselves and then tell the Executive Board how we are going to fight.  And then we could demand that they support us.

Note:  In contrast to the Executive Board’s email, check out this “Action Alert” sent out yesterday by AFSCME (and PLEASE use the resources in it to actually take action!):

UC Regent designate David Crane is taking cues from Wisconsin Gov. Walker by calling  to end collective bargaining for California’s teachers, nurses, fire fighters and other public workers, as seen in his recent SF Chronicle Op Ed.  He makes a subtle distinction between those with statutory civil service protections and those without.  But civil service laws do not provide a voice at work for public employees through which we are able to effectively advocate for our patients, students, and the public we serve daily.  Nor do these laws allow us to speak out against executive greed or fight to protect the wages and benefits our families depend on.

We have a chance to kill David Crane’s nomination before it even goes to Gov. Brown’s desk; Crane’s nomination has to pass through the Democrat controlled Rules Committee before it goes to a full vote of the Senate. If the rules committee doesn’t pass his nomination forward, then he’s no longer a Regent!

Please call Senator Darrell Steinberg,  majority leader in the Senate and chair of the Rules Committee ASAP with this message: (916)-651-4006

“I’m a member of the UC community and a voter, and I strongly oppose David Crane’s nomination to the UC Board of Regents because of his public stance opposing collective bargaining for public workers.  Collective bargaining is the only voice workers at the UC have to stand up for the students and patients we serve. For the sake of workers, students, faculty and our mission of a truly public university, I want him removed immediately!”

Calls today will be extremely effective in pressuring Democrats not to even forward Crane’s union-busting name on to the Senate. They will also be registered by the entire Democratic leadership as Steinberg is a top Dem leader in the entire legislature.

Passed unanimously at the monthly membership meeting on 2/28/11.

RESOLUTION: CAMPUS CONTACT NAMES AND CAMPUS EMAIL ADDRESS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN ALL OFFICIAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH SANTA CRUZ MEMBERSHIP

WHEREAS, each campus unit of UAW Local 2865 elects its own campus leaders; and

WHEREAS, campus leaders serve as an initial point of contact between members and Local leadership; and

WHEREAS, members on each campus should know the names of their campus leaders and how to contact them; and

WHEREAS, each campus, including Santa Cruz, has a designated UAW campus email account for purposes of official contact with members; and

WHEREAS, most emails to Santa Cruz membership from the statewide leadership do not contain names or contact information for campus leaders; and

WHEREAS, at least one recent email to Santa Cruz membership from the statewide leadership did not include the official Santa Cruz UAW email (santacruz@uaw2865.org), but instead asked members to reply to a statewide address; Therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Santa Cruz unit requires that all future emails from UAW Local 2865 to members of the Santa Cruz unit include the names and positions of the elected UAW Local 2865 campus leaders at Santa Cruz; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Santa Cruz unit requires that all future emails from UAW Local 2865 to members of the Santa Cruz unit include the campus UAW email (santacruz@uaw2865.org) as the designated “Reply-To” email address; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Santa Cruz unit requires that the official Santa Cruz UAW email (santacruz@uaw2865.org) serve as the default response email address for all organizing and action appeals made to Santa Cruz members by the statewide leadership; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Santa Cruz unit will notify the UAW Local 2865 statewide leadership of this resolution.

At the UAW 2865 monthly membership meeting at UC Santa Cruz on Monday, February 28th, 2011, members of Academic Workers for a Democratic Union proposed the following resolution in support of a fair contract for clerical employees represented by CUE-Teamsters. The resolution passed unanimously.

RESOLUTION: FAIR CONTRACT FOR CUE-TEAMSTERS

UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit

WHEREAS, workers represented by CUE-Teamsters perform essential work for the University of California–at Santa Cruz and throughout the UC system; and

WHEREAS, these workers perform complex jobs that require a broad range of knowledge and skills; and

WHEREAS, many of these workers have seen their duties increase significantly as UCOP has made budget cuts; and

WHEREAS, the clerical workers at UC Santa Cruz are already under-compensated compared to non-UC clerical workers in the Santa Cruz area; and

WHEREAS, the clerical workers at UC Santa Cruz face significant cost increases in their health care plans due to UCOP’s disregard of regional inequities in health care; and

WHEREAS, the average salary for clerical workers at UC Santa Cruz is approximately $35,000/year, while nearly 3200 “senior executives” in the UC system are paid more than $214,000/year; and

WHEREAS, the workers represented by CUE-Teamsters have been in bargaining with UCOP for a new contract since 2008; and

WHEREAS, the UC has shown a manifest unwillingness to come to terms on a fair contract for employees represented CUE-Teamsters; Therefore be it

RESOLVED, that UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit calls on UCOP to bargain in good faith with CUE-Teamsters; and be it further

RESOLVED, that UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit calls on UCOP to resolve a fair contract that recognizes the importance of the work performed by clerical employees at UC Santa Cruz and throughout the UC; and be it further

RESOLVED, that UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit will support CUE-Teamsters in any and all actions that they deem necessary to secure a fair contract; and be it further

RESOLVED, that UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit urges all of its members to participate in any and all actions that CUE-Teamsters organizes to secure a fair contract; and be it further

RESOLVED, that UAW Local 2865 Santa Cruz Unit will inform UCOP of this resolution.

Passed 2/28/11.


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