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This is not a joke

Norah R.J. Foster,
Friday June 28, 2002

To the Editor: 

I am outraged that Paul Schwartz says in response to a strike vote “It's one of those things unions do...It is in some sense a part of the process.” Clericals have not struck in 30 years. We are not doing this for the “process” of it but because we are fed up and disgruntled to have to been kept waiting to see if bargaining offers would improve and not continue to be treated unfairly with a number of unfair labor practices. Now it is only getting worse. We want the whole community to support giving clericals decent treatment and stop wasting good taxpayers’ money. 

Zero percent pay raise and a 1.5 percent step merit ( for only about 50 percent of the unit) is much worse than last year and is indecent. Library assistants at Alameda County are paid 30 percent more than UC, Cal State pays them 18 percent more. We are being treated unfairly also at bargaining when they withhold information, intimidate workers. It is costing UC taxpayers and wasting a huge amount of the parents money who pay for their children to attend CAL. Turnover in the first year is 54 percent and the cost of recruitment and retention is more that the cost of our pay raises and our retroactive step merits (paid normally annually when you are evaluated as satisfactory or better). 

To support giving clericals a decent break we have a pledge to support our strike and hopefully we will make this obstinate cycle of bad faith unfair bargaining “process” end. Again, misinformation is being spread by UC who actually only offered us 1 percent as a part of last year's contract. In this year’s contract we are only being offered 1 percent (not 2 percent). All employees (including all administrators) are getting a 3 percent additional bonus for retirement. Many clericals do not yet qualify for retirement and this is not is the offer at the negotiating table. 

It is also a lie that UC must limit our wages based on a “lack of state funding.” Only 36 percent of our wages come from state funding. Unrestricted funding is not tied “in legal obligations” or it would not be unrestricted. It is possible to use the $2.3 billion in reserves for our pay raises. UC only needs about $63 million for 18,000 clericals across the state (3 percent of the reserves). These lies and neglect by UC is costing taxpayers and wasting a huge amount of the parents money who pay for their children to attend CAL. 

It is an outrage to the community to call this a "process" and a “thing unions do.” We won't strike unless our backs are to the wall and they are certainly at the wall now. Please ask to sign the pledge to support our strike. 


Norah R.J. Foster,  

Library Assistant, CUE member