UC Workers Protest Plan To Shore Up Pension Fund

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP) – University of California workers are protesting a plan to increase the share of their paychecks set aside for their pensions.

Dozens of clerical and administrative workers represented by the Teamsters union waved signs and chanted outside the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The regents are scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to boost employee contributions to UC’s underfunded pension fund.

If approved, employees would begin contributing 3.5 percent of their pay in July 2011 and 5 percent in 2012. Currently, most employees contribute 2 percent.

UC officials say the increased contributions are necessary to ensure the university’s long-term financial health.

But some employees say the plan amounts to a pay cut for workers who are struggling to make ends meet.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Bronwen Rowlands

    There’s more to the press release:

    “We are no strangers to negotiating contracts,” said Rome Aloise, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7 in Northern California. “Our union has a reputation for obtaining quality agreements in the public and private sectors.”

    Aloise expressed concern that the lack of a fair contract could trigger some unpleasant consequences. “If we have to prove the value of our members by halting services, products and materials that enable the University to function, we are prepared to take that critical step and enlist the support of all unions in the state.”

    “As I deliver these petitions to you, let me reiterate that forcing clerical employees to take a net pay cut while you promise wage increases to other groups is unconscionable,” Henderson [acting president of CUE-Teamsters Local 2010] said. “CUE-Teamsters are serious. Our members have not had a raise since 2007. We have single mothers, people living in subsidized housing. Yet, you, the Regents, think you can give others raises. We refuse to be discriminated against.”

    Other groups also spoke out at the Regents meeting, and the rally that followed, in support of CUE-Teamsters’ fight for a good contract. They were: Bob Samuels, President, University Council-AFT; Filiberto Gomez, Executive Board member of the UC Student Alliance, a representative from California State Assemblymember Fiona Ma’s office, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and Leah Rowell, representing California State Senator Leland Yee (D).

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