FAQs About Organizing With UPTE

Why are Student Services Professionals organizing with UPTE?

  • UPTE has a strong record of negotiating regular pay increases for employees. 

  • UPTE supports restoring a strong public higher education system in California that provides high quality, accessible and affordable education for all. 

  • UPTE-represented members enjoy a fair and transparent step-based pay system in which employees with a satisfactory or better job evaluation move up a level annually on a scale of negotiated wage increases.

  • The employer must meet and confer with UPTE before implementing layoffs. In the event that layoffs occur, unionized employees have better layoff protections than non-unionized.

  • Furloughs must be negotiated.

  • UPTE is a member run organization whose members know the work, workplace conditions and how employees are treated. Unionized employees have the protection of a contract, representation by an UPTE steward when needed for meetings with management and the collective strength of 15,000 UPTE colleagues at UC as part of 700,000 members in CWA, our national Union.

How long will it take to unionize student services professionals at UC?

  • The law gives us only ONE YEAR to collect the requisite number of cards to either win representation outright or trigger an election. That is not a long time. There is much groundwork that needs to be laid before we begin card collection. Your participation is critical.

How many cards do we need? How much support is there?

  • To win representation outright we would need a majority (50%+1), of those eligible to sign an authorization card. That is called card check.

  • To trigger an election we need 30%.

Note: Sign the authorization card only if you plan to vote “yes” in an election.

How much are union dues and when do I start paying them?

  • Newly unionized employees do not begin paying dues until we negotiate and vote to approve our first contract.

  • Dues for voluntary members are capped at $22 per month.

  • Dues for members with a contract are 1.3% of your monthly salary. 

What are our dues used for?

  • Our dues allow us to conduct successful bargaining, education, and representation work. Dues are not used for political purposes. 

Do I have to join the union? I heard that I have to pay even if I choose not to be a member –  is that true?

  • The more members we have, the more successful we will be at the bargaining table and in our campaigns to support public higher education.

  • Under current law, you are not required to become a member or pay dues. 

If I sign the UPTE-CWA authorization card do I become a member?

  • No. Signing an authorization card means that you want UPTE to represent your interests with UC management and that you will vote for UPTE in a union election.

  • To become a union member you can fill out a separate membership application.

If I sign the authorization card will my supervisor know?

  • No. The authorization cards will be submitted directly to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), the state agency charged with administering either an election or certifying that a majority of the eligible employees have signed an authorization card.

Can I become a member now?

  • Yes! You can become a voluntary member by clicking the link here

  • As a voluntary member of UPTE you have the right to have your voice heard and be counted in convention, elections, and participation. You also gain access to experienced stewards.  

I am a contract employee. Does this apply to me?

  • Yes, absolutely. UPTE is fighting for the stability and the best possible terms of employment for its members. As part of a recognized bargaining unit UC employees have the legal right to bargain with the employer over working conditions and wages.

Will the union interfere with my career development?

  • UPTE strongly supports reclassification and other forms of career development.   UPTE’s “Wage Workshops” provide information to unrepresented employees about reclassification, equity increases, administrative stipends, and other ways to build your UC career (and your paycheck!).

  • UPTE-represented researchers have negotiated contract language that requires management to conduct classification reviews of their job series.  The University has to either provide a formal written denial or approve it with at least a 4% wage increase!

How does being in a union help us support UC’s missions?

  • Negotiating regular pay increases and stable benefits encourages skilled employees to remain at UC, strengthening the institutional knowledge and experience base. Constant turnover undermines our ability to support students and research. Building UC careers builds support for UC’s missions.    

  • UPTE has advocated for accessibility to public education for all students through its support for the “Reclaim the Master Plan for Higher Education” campaign.

For additional questions, contact us at [email protected]