UPTE-CWA Local 9119, the union representing nearly 10,000 research and technical employees at the University of California, today sent a notice to the University of a system-wide unfair labor practice strike on Thursday, May 26th 2005 if UC continues to bargain in bad faith and refuses to sign a fair contract.
UPTE represented research and technical staff that work on important breakthroughs on cures for diseases like cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.
Last week, over 85% of research and technical staff voted to authorize a strike.
“We feel UC’s continued bad faith bargaining and violations of labor law are severely undermining our research standards,” said Jelger Kalmijn, alcoholism researcher and systemwide president of UPTE. “Researcher salaries are 25% behind the private sector and we can’t keep good people who are leaving in droves.”
Turnover at UC has reached crisis proportions among research staff, with an annual turnover rate of 33%.
“When good, experienced researchers leave, they take their knowledge with them. It takes at least 6-12 months to train new researchers at their job,” said Greg Severson, cancer researcher at UC San Diego’s Cancer Center. “Obviously this negatively impacts my research.”
UPTE has demonstrated how UC has the money to improve researcher compensation, but the University has refused to even acknowledge it even has any turnover savings.
UPTE has filed over 15 charges with the Public Employment Relations Board over illegal, bad faith tactics. On April 19th, 2005, PERB found that UC illegally refused to provide information to UPTE about turnover savings.
“Thousands of people depend on our work, in the hopes that we can find a cure for what ails them” said Kalmijn, “UC is letting them down.”