January 2021 Update: We are disappointed that the UPTE’s December election has to be re-run but are proud that we won a majority of votes and seats, coming within 10 votes of a complete victory. Ballots for the re-run will be sent via US mail and you will be notified by email when they are being mailed. 
 

The election re-run will cost the organization tens of thousands of dollars and even more valuable time as we continue to confront the effects of the pandemic and approach the April window where UC can re-negotiate our next 18% in raises and retirement. 
 

We know that it is the power of our members that will protect our contract, stop further austerity, keep our workplaces safe, and allow us to win an even better contract in our next negotiations. Building that power requires a leadership committed to listening to your priorities, developing and executing plans to make gains on the issues most important to our membership. 
 

The failure to carry out such a basic task as a successful election underlines the importance of this vote and the urgency of new leadership.

 

☑ Dan Russell for President
☑ Ursula Quinn for Vice President

☑ Matias Campos for Executive Vice President

☑ Carole Netter for Treasurer

☑ Matt Stephen for Secretary

 

We want to be your Systemwide Officers because UPTE members need a more powerful union – now, more than ever: Power to defend our contracts in 2021 and beyond. Power to protect our jobs from COVID-related cuts and outsourcing. Power to secure fair pay for titles with market inequities. Power to influence politics to better the public service we provide and to improve our community.

We can build that power together by listening to what our members want and need, making you part of our plan to win, and communicating our victories. We will build a leadership team that goes far beyond the five of us, ultimately including someone in every department and workplace across our state.

To accomplish this, we’ll use our union resources responsibly by investing in professional staff who have the experience needed to help us run a highly functional and efficient organization. We will ensure that those of you who sacrifice your time to build this union are successful.

We’ll make sure that you hear from us and see us regularly, along with your UPTE staff, so that you understand and have a say in our priorities and strategy.

Sadly, we haven’t seen this kind of leadership from UPTE’s incumbent President, Jamie McDole. She encouraged UPTE’s bargaining team to allow UC the right to take back 18% in raises and cut retirement benefits for our members in April 2021. She then misled members about this as we voted on the contract. Since then, UPTE has lost hundreds of members at UC – showing that we’ve grown weaker since our contract fight and incentivizing UC to reopen our contract. Read more about how President McDole’s poor decisions led to the reopener below.

Meanwhile, UPTE members at Butte College, College of the Sequoias, and Mt. San Jacinto College have received no professional staff support for the last 3 years. Members at Lawrence Livermore Lab members have had to plead with our Systemwide Board for last-minute support for their difficult contract campaign because there was no proactive plan to support them in building power to win a good contract.

Our Organize for Power team and endorsers have worked tirelessly to build membership and develop leadership teams at our campuses. We have seen too many leaders burn out and stop participating because of the lack of support and respect for our members and our staff.

We want to work with every UPTE member to make sure that each of our UCs, community colleges, and national labs are building the power to secure our futures. We’re ready for a change – we hope you are too. Join us!

Our Platform

What we want to build power to accomplish

Defending our contracts

Stopping UC from reopening our contracts in April of 2021 is our first and most pressing challenge because we stand to lose 17-18% in raises through 2024 and our retirement security. Similarly, we must support Lawrence Livermore Lab members in their struggle for a fair contract, which has taken 18 months with little sign of progress. 

We will win these fights by implementing the rest of our platform: running comprehensive campaigns that rely on building the power of our membership, which will allow us to communicate and mobilize rapidly and in larger numbers than ever before while providing the resources to increase our professional staff. These same preparations will put us in the strongest position to defeat any attempted cuts the future may hold.

Fair pay 

We can’t wait for our next contract negotiations to begin addressing market pay inequities that were not addressed in previous contracts. All UPTE members deserve a pay rate at or above those found at competing institutions or in comparable titles at our employers. Nothing is stopping our employers from fixing these today: we simply have to build the pressure on them to make those equity adjustments now. 

Protect our jobs

Service and Patient Care workers represented by AFSCME 3299 won historic protections from outsourcing in their most recent UC contract and brought to light UC’s attempts to outsource work across the state. UPTE members face the same threat, alongside UC’s constant effort to create new, non-union job titles that weaken our ability to protect and improve our pay and benefits. Only by developing a strong network of leaders in every title and worksite across the state can we identify these threats early, stop them, and build towards comprehensive protections for our work in future contracts.

Build political power

Working people are facing unprecedented assault from the billionaire class, who are attacking everything that stands in the way of their profits – including public education, healthcare, and research. As public employees, elected officials on the state level make decisions each year which affect our livelihoods and the nature of our work. We need to develop a political program that reflects the particular concerns of UPTE members while working with other unions to address issues that affect all working people like criminal justice, immigration, healthcare, the environment, and housing to name just a few.

How we’re going to build that power

Build membership

The most fundamental measure of our Union’s strength is our membership. Our employers keep close track of our union’s membership levels: they deduct our dues and know exactly where our membership is weak. Our recent contract victories presented a crucial opportunity to grow membership. Instead, our numbers have fallen by hundreds over the past two years. We will reverse these losses by identifying and training leaders who will be fully supported by our professional organizing staff structure, fighting for the issues most important to our membership on the local and statewide level and developing a robust internal communications program.

Improving accountability and communications

Communications are a part of everything we do – whether communicating with our members, union leaders, elected officials, or the public – and are crucial to your ability to hold us accountable. Unfortunately, communications on all fronts have been lacking from the current leadership. We will make sure that members know what the union is doing and help shape our priorities through in-person conversations with their workplace leaders, UPTE staff, and our leadership team  – when and where it is safe to do so – as well as through improved and more regular electronic communications, which are all the more important during this pandemic. Our leadership team will also issue written or video reports to keep you updated on our plans, progress, and challenges.

  Growing our union

In addition to increasing membership where we already represent workers, we need to bring in new job titles and bargaining units that will build our density and power. Our contract is meaningless if our employers can avoid them by using non-union job titles or contractors. Organizing these groups requires careful and sustained work to build majority support. Unfortunately, UPTE’s current leadership has allowed a group of 300 new IT at UC workers to go without a union contract for more than 2 years because they have been unable to organize sufficient support within or on behalf of this group.

Workplace structure

The most important way to build power is by increasing the number of members who are committed to being their co-workers’ immediate connection to the union; someone who builds their knowledge of our contract and the organizing skills needed to enforce and improve it. Setting goals to constantly increase the number of members who are actively connected to the Union’s work through a workplace representative will allow us to better fight to fix issues in our departments and campuses, prepare for future contract negotiations and organizing campaigns, and allow us to have a more democratic, member-run union.

Professional staff support

As professional education, healthcare, research, and technical workers, we understand the need for professional organizers, communicators, and administrators to help us run an effective and powerful organization. We will treat our staff with the respect they deserve, provide them with the support and experienced management that need to succeed, and hold them accountable to helping us meet the goals that you set for our union – just as we expect you to hold us accountable as your elected leaders.

Sadly, our members at Butte College, College of the Sequoias, and Mt San Jacinto College have gone without any professional staff support for most of the last 3 years. We will make sure that UPTE systemwide staff devote the appropriate attention to all of our campuses.

Our Candidates

Dan Russell for President

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and first experienced the lack of power that working people have when my dad was laid off from his job as a salesman in his 50s after 30 years of dedication to his employer. As a single-income household, this had a traumatic effect on my family when I was in my teens, the effects of which I feel deeply to this day.

I moved to the Bay Area and got a non-union IT job as a Business Technology Support Analyst at UC Berkeley in 2012. I was excited to find out that UPTE was trying to win union protections for us, particularly after more than a dozen of my colleagues – some of whom had been at UC for decades – were laid off just before the holidays in 2015. 

This threat inspired me to get more involved, eventually as a steward, Local President, Systemwide Executive Board representative, and RX/TX Bargainer for our UC Berkeley chapter. 

When UPTE decided to bring my job title into the Technical Unit I was thrilled to win union representation but I came to realize that UPTE hadn’t taken the time to talk with and listen to the workers who UPTE sought to represent. I worked hard to rebuild the trust that had been broken and am proud that my department – one of the largest groups of UPTE workers at UC Berkeley – now has membership far above the statewide average for the Technical Unit.

I was proud to be elected Executive Vice President in 2018 and worked hard to support our contract campaign. I travelled the state to meet with members, and bottom-lined our communications efforts: writing emails, designing flyers, coordinating member-to-member texting, and more. I believe that these efforts were crucial to the power we built to move UC from their initial offer to what we eventually won – or what we thought we won.

Over the past 3 years I was continually disappointed by the rest of our Systemwide leadership. President McDole made a series of serious mistakes that culminated in her advocating for UPTE to accept a contract reopener in April 2021 that allows UC to take back 18% in raises and cut our retirement. 

Since the contract campaign ended I have spoken with countless rank and file members across the state who share my disappointment in the lack of transparency, power, and professionalism in UPTE’s statewide leadership. Many of them are running as and supporting the Organize for Power team.

I remember the progress UPTE made at UC in just a year between May 2018 and 2019. Thousands of members joined our contract fight and took the enormous step of striking to defend our patients, students, and research. UC could feel our power and eventually dropped their insulting wage proposals and retirement cuts. 

Had President McDole not demobilized our members because she thought she had the power to close the deal that we made possible then we – like our co-workers in AFSCME 3299 – wouldn’t be facing this reopener. Had she continued organizing we could have hundreds more members then we do now – instead of hundreds fewer – and be in a much stronger place to support our brothers and sisters at Lawrence Livermore Lab and organize new groups of workers instead of being dragged back into the same fight we should have finished in 2019.

We may have to finish the contract campaign that many of us thought ended a year ago but we will use that momentum to work with our members on issues they care about and find solutions. We can work together to improve patient care, to find solutions to COVID-19 and climate change, to improve education for our next generation of leaders, and bring new workers into our union to grow our power even more.

Ursula Quinn for Vice President

I’ve been an Occupational Therapist at UCLA for 20 years and I’m running for Vice President with the Organize for Power team to create an effective, member ​driven union to improve our working conditions, patient care, education, and research.

​Working at a world renowned institution, with colleagues dedicated to supporting kids with mental illness is a huge source of pride for me. But as a single mom renting in one of California’s most expensive cities, having a job that provides security and fair compensation is vital too. Once I realized UC executives prioritize their bottom line over workers and patient care, I knew I had to get more involved. During our contract fight I helped with forming our local organizing committee and encouraged members to organize their co-workers. I still feel exhilarated remembering our strength on the picket line and how it helped us win our contract.

It was frustrating to see our leade​​rship fail to build on this after our contract fight so I stepped up to co-chair and preserve our organizing committee, with support and encouragement from Dan Russell. We developed a strong foundation to continue to inform, empower, and grow our membership. With our efforts, the UCLA OC is one of the strongest in our union, We implemented a program of outreach efforts and educational workshops which have been instrumental in recruiting new members and increasing engagement locally.

I am also a member at large of the Local UPTE board and a delegate to the Los Angeles Federation of Labor. I have worked with our local staff in leading new employee orientations and spent many hours pre COVID, doing outreach and having one on one conversations with fellow members.

UPTE represents a huge diversity of job titles, backgrounds and income levels, across medical centers, UC and community college campuses, research labs, theaters and museums. Serving the public in these many ways has become more challenging with threats of outsourcing, and privatization even before the added stress of COVID. If elected, our slate is committed to ensuring that we will have power to succeed in our bargaining fights and protect the services we provide to our patients, students and the public at large.

If elected, we will build the power to succeed in future bargaining and protect the work that we love.

Matias Campos for Executive Vice President

My first exposure to unions was as a teenager when my mom took a union job as a nurse just outside of New York City. I remember hearing about her representing her co-workers and fighting for fair contracts. I hope to have a job that would give me that kind of control over my working conditions. Her union even sponsored a scholarship I received to help with the costs of attending college and graduate school in Boston.

After pharmacy school, I completed a residency at UC San Francisco, which I enjoyed so much that I decided to stayHowever, I quickly realized that many of my colleagues were concerned about constant staff turnover, which meant we had to spend too much time training new hires rather than providing the highest quality of care. I knew something had to be done and I wondered why our union wasn’t helping. None of my colleagues had ever heard from UPTE before so I decided to seek it out.

My first experience in UPTE was attending a general membership meeting where an UPTE staff member encouraged my ongoing involvement. I was excited to get involved but nervous because it seemed like we had so few experienced member-leaders. I worked hard to organize my colleagues that had, for a long time, been neglected by our union. I was able to convince them to help me prepare a presentation to the bargaining team regarding the market pay inequity that led to our staff turnover. When that didn’t convince UC, they all joined me on the picket line for the first time!

After our huge contract wins, I was eager to continue my role as an organizer at my worksite. I helped members with representation, recruited new members at New Employee Orientations, facilitated our membership meetings, and chaired our Organizing Committee. Unfortunately, I never received the support or direction I needed from current leadership and realized that we were not prepared to defend what we won from the re-opener that puts all our hard work for a fair contract at risk.

I am running for Executive Vice President because I believe the Organize for Power team has the ability to harness the untapped potential of UPTE. We need to go to our members and work with them to improve their worksites rather than waiting for them to come to us. We need this untapped power, now more than ever before. 

Carole Netter for Treasurer

My name is Carole Netter. I have practiced as a physical therapist at UCLA’s Outpatient Rehab Clinic in Westwood for over 10 years. I am fellowship-trained in Lower Quarter Biomechanics and hold a Board specialty certification in orthopedic physical therapy.

In 2014, I was among the many physical therapists who were unsettled by our title’s accretion by UPTE. I felt undervalued by UPTE and completely uninformed. By 2018, our union had been in talks with UC for over a year with zero progress. I came to learn that UC—a public institution—was dragging its feet with their most important asset: their employees. I felt disrespected. It was then that realized the purpose of my union. UPTE was our only means to negotiate with our employer. My managers and director had no influence over the terms of my employment.

In September of 2019, UPTE finally signed a contract with UC. Over the course of that campaign, at UCLA had formed a strong Organizing Committee that supported the mobilization of members for strikes.  With the conclusion of the contract battle, it was assumed the Committee would adjourn. Instead, Dan Russell called leaders like Ursula Quinn and me to encourage us to keep the OC active and engaged. We continued to reach out to members who had been involved in the spring campaign and successfully reformed the UCLA Organizing Committee.

Our group put together a ‘Union Builder’ program recruiting leaders in work places across UCLA Health and campus. We initiated an outreach program for stewarding calls and texts to members in order to solicit their concerns and questions during this pandemic. We have sponsored webinars for members on several topics including workers compensation, layoffs and stewarding, upcoming elections, and a wage workshop.

After just over a year, UCLA has formed one of the strongest OCs in the system, and I am proud of this accomplishment. However, along the way I learned that our system-wide union lacked a similar commitment to organize all of its members. It is clear to me that our current UPTE leadership does not prioritize the organizational structure of our union.

The primary purpose of a union is collective bargaining and the primary asset of successful bargaining is an engaged and active membership base. UPTE members have the right to be represented by strong leadership and a dedicated staff focused on building the most effective, open, engaging and responsive union possible.

I am asking for your support to continue to organize membership and build the strength we need to negotiate the best possible contracts at our community colleges, national labs, and UC —the largest employer in the state of California. It will not be easy, but together, we will prevail.

 

Matt Stephen for Secretary

I have been a Physician Assistant at UCSF in the Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery department for 3 years. I grew up in Texas, a right-to-work state where unions were rare. I realized how important they were in highschool when my mom, a single parent who had struggled to pay the bills for many years, got a good union job with the US Post Office. I felt what the power of a union meant – stability and security – in a real way that I’ll never forget. 

In my first job as a Physician Assistant, my employer changed four times in one year – all while working at the same emergency room! Various for-profit companies kept buying each other out and restructuring our privately staffed ER resulting in significant turnover among staff and many stressful situations that negatively affected our ability to give quality patient care. It was then that I realized that despite doing everything “the right way”, even getting a postgraduate degree in a field in great demand, it did not necessarily guarantee stability or job security. 

In 2018, I got the opportunity to work at UCSF as a PA represented by UPTE. I joined the picket line though I had not yet gotten involved because I knew collective action was the right thing to do for my colleagues and patients. After we settled the contract, my PA colleagues and I were thrilled about the progress we made winning pay equity, which would allow us to recruit and retain quality staff. Soon afterwards, I joined the Organizing Committee, orienting new employees to UPTE, and engaging in stewarding to help defend our colleagues and our contract.

As I got more involved I learned from my fellow activists that our contract victory was not as complete as I’d been led to believe. I immediately reached out to other HX members and PAs on the bargaining team and learned that they were unaware as well. I was disappointed to learn that our President had misled us about the reopener but glad to know that other members shared the belief that our union should function in a more unambiguous, professional way.

Joining the Organize for Power slate has confirmed my belief that a better union is possible. After seeing examples of strong unions like CNA, UTLA, and others and seeing a glimpse of the potential within our own union during our contract campaign – I am confident that we can build a stronger, more transparent, and democratic union. Our slate has the experience, vision, and professionalism to ensure that we come out of this next contract fight with better pay equity, and job security for all of our members. I believe this will directly lead to better care and outcomes for our patients. 

Please vote for me as UPTE Secretary, and for the entire Organize for Power slate so we have the ability to implement our vision to build our union over the next 3 years!

April 2021 Reopener

What Is The Contract Reopener?

The contract reopener is a provision in our HX, RX, and TX contracts which allows UC to renegotiate compensation and retirement in April of 2021. All scheduled raises in our contracts could be suspended and we would have to restart the negotiations process, which initially lasted from May of 2017 to August of 2019. 

UC could propose to cancel our remaining raises and step increases and propose new cuts to our retirement benefits. The language of the reopener is available on UC’s website for RX and TX. You can see an unsigned version of the HX reopener here, which has identical language.

Was Accepting The Reopener Necessary?

No. AFSCME 3299 continued fighting for just six more months and won stronger contracts with no reopener, securing their raises and retirement for 3 more years through 2024. President McDole, who was also UPTE’s Chief Negotiator, was advised not to accept the re-opener by Executive Vice President Dan Russell and other bargaining team members because it could leave UPTE isolated and vulnerable to be singled out by UC. 

While CNA-represented nurses gave UC the opportunity to reopen in April 2020, President McDole failed to align our re-opener with theirs. Moreover, UPTE currently lacks the membership power and political influence which prevented UC from reopening on CNA and allowed CNA to secure a contract a year before UPTE. UPTE members are now the only union employees facing a reopener in the midst of a historic pandemic and economic crisis.

Has Our Current President Adequately Prepared Us For This Threat?

No. In emails that were sent as UPTE members voted on the contract, President McDole misled us by writing that the reopener would occur “[s]hould the California state government pass changes that affect our retirement plans.” The actual language of the reopener agreement makes clear that no government action is needed for UC to reopen on wages or retirement. Since then, UPTE has neither issued a correction nor shared the full details of the contract reopener with members.

Worse, UPTE has now lost nearly 1,000 members since 2018, falling from more than 10,600 members to less than 9,800 members today. UC knows that UPTE is weaker today than it was 2 years ago because they collect our dues, which may influence their decision to reopen.

What Would Organize for Power Have Done Differently?

Mobilizing: We would have pressed on until we had a fair contract so that we would have maximum leverage at the negotiating table. President McDole began telling members that UPTE wouldn’t need to strike after May 2019 once she had secured a private meeting with former UC President Napolitano. Once UC knew that UPTE had demobilized our members it felt little pressure to meet our full demands.

Bargaining: We would not have announced a Tentative Agreement to our members until UC had finalized their offer and would have called their bluff on the reopener. President McDole announced that we had a Tentative Agreement to UPTE members before UPTE’s bargaining team had even seen the actual language of the reopener agreement. Having continued mobilizing members, we would have told UC that there would be no deal with a reopener and gone back to the bargaining table in a position of strength.

Informing: Had we felt that a reopener was a necessary compromise, after appropriate consultation with UPTE’s member leadership, we would have fully informed members of the details of the reopener and the threat that it represented. President McDole did not present the Tentative Agreement to UPTE’s Systemwide Executive Board before she put it before members for a vote. UPTE Executive Vice President Dan Russell was the only “No” vote when the contract was finally brought before the Executive Board in August 2019.

Organizing: We would have continued organizing and building our membership power from the minute we ratified the contract, reopener or not. A contract victory was the perfect opportunity to increase membership by advertising the huge movement that UPTE members were able to achieve through our hard work and sacrifice. Instead, membership has fallen by hundreds since September 2019.

What Will Organize For Power Do Differently When Elected?

Mobilizing: We will begin the long overdue organizing campaign which builds toward the mobilization of a majority of our members. It was the unprecedented participation of UPTE members that allowed us to move UC executives during our contract campaign and the same can move them again, either to convince them not to reopen or to defend what we fought so hard for.

Political Pressure: Create a campaign that puts the important work that UPTE members do in the public eye and in front of key politicians, who could press UC not to reopen. UPTE members are essential workers on the front-lines of the pandemic, whether providing patient care, doing research, educating, or doing technical work behind the scenes that make all of this possible. UC should be afraid of the political consequences of attacking front-line workers during a pandemic.

Coalition Building: Engage our union coalition and community allies. UC executives are the only ones who stand to benefit from reopening our contract at this crucial time. We will work with our union allies and the rest of the UC community to press UC executives not to unnecessarily distract from the life-saving work that UPTE members are an integral part of.

Will UC really reopen our contract?

All signs indicate that UC executives are using the pandemic as an excuse to cut labor costs wherever possible. They have taken away raises from non-union staff, cut the salaries of top executives, asked unions to voluntarily give up their raises, and shamed us when we have refused to do so.

We believe that UC is likely to reopen because of this but know that we must be prepared for any outcome by informing our members of the threat that we all face and rebuilding our power. There is no downside of being prepared but the consequences of not doing so could be enormous. This is a key reason we believe new UPTE leadership is so necessary.

Our Campus Co-Chairs

Brenna Rizan

Brenna Rizan, Clinical Social Worker, UC Davis

“I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team because he was against the re-opener from the start and they understand that everyone deserves a voice for our union to be strong.”

Cheyenne Dean, Staff Research Associate, UC San Francisco

Cheyenne Dean, Staff Research Associate, UC San Francisco

“In the era of COVID-19 and climate change, research in the public interest is more important than ever. Those of us who heed that call need a strong union to keep us from being exploited. I am endorsing the Organize for Power slate because I know Dan and our team are ready to build a foundation that engages our members to build a strong, transparent union that fights any injustice that UPTE members face. I trust them to tell members the truth and support member activists who are fighting for the pay and recognition they deserve.”

Amy Ottinger, Case Manager, UC San Francisco

“The loss of UPTE’s great professional staff has made organizing my co-workers at UCSF Parnassus so much more difficult but UPTE’s current leadership doesn’t seem to care. I know our Union can be so much stronger than it is now if leaders like me are properly supported: that’s why I’m voting for Dan Russell, Matias Campos, and the Organizing for Power slate.”

Danielle Mein, Dietitian, UC Los Angeles

“I’ve personally seen the hard work and efforts of this group to unite us as a union, empower us as members, and highlight our voices to those who need to hear it. Dan Russell is an inspiring leader, but more importantly, one with strategy, humility, and unique experience that will strengthen our union and ultimately help us reach our goals and vision at UC. This is why I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power Slate.”

David Carlos, Business Technology Support Analyst, UC San Diego

“2020 has challenged us in brand new ways. We have to shift the status quo into thoughtful meaningful action. I think Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team is perfect to help us navigate out of Covid-19 making UPTE and UC stronger.”

Robbie Harris, Recreation Therapist, UC Los Angeles

I do important work as a Recreation Therapist at UCLA and our patients depend on us when they are at their most vulnerable. When we can’t get our voices heard they suffer too. We need leaders who understand that their power comes from our members, not from themselves: that’s why I’m all in for Dan Russell, Ursula Quinn, and the Organize for Power team.”

Lisa Martell, Clinical Lab Scientist, UC Berkeley

“My concerns about our contract reopener have only been exacerbated by the COVID crisis. With UC asking for pay cuts and furloughs we need to be educating and organizing now! I support Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power Slate that plans to organize and dissuade the university to even consider reopening our contract agreement.”

Anita Nuechterlein, Clinical Lab Scientist, UC San Francisco

“I know our Union has the potential to be as strong as the convictions of its members, and that’s why Im endorsing Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power slate. “

Angelica Cabrera, Animal Health Technician, UC San Francisco

 

 

Albert Malvaez, Camera Technician, UC Los Angeles

“I want our Union to be stronger. I’m voting the Organizing for Power slate. I’m convinced Dan Russell and the others on this slate will help us secure what we have and organize for the future.”

Tracy Jones, Museum Scientist, UC Berkeley

“I had high hopes for the current UPTE President but have been disappointed at every turn. We need a new direction and new leadership. I support Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team because he has a platform and vision for the future. Dan will lead us in the fight to protect our contract, build our membership, and make lasting, positive change.”

Jenna Barrett, UCLA, Clinical Social Worker

“I’m supporting Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power slate because his guidance and dedication to organizing helped UCLA UPTE become a more unified local union. I believe we need a change in leadership – one that will focus on empowering & strengthening our membership. We fought long and hard for our contract and unfortunately, we may be facing more contract negotiations much sooner than we expected because of our current systemwide leadership.”

Toni Ward, Computer Resource Specialist, UC Berkeley

“As UC Berkeley’s representative to the UPTE Systemwide Executive Board, I know how urgent it is that UPTE have a leadership team that will be accountable, enthusiastic, and trustworthy. I’ve seen Dan embody those values in a way that the rest of our current leadership has not. We need a team that will put the best interest of the membership first! If you’re ready for leadership that won’t compromise your livelihood, join me in voting for the Organize for Power team!”

Doug Chin, Clinical Lab Scientist, UC San Francisco

“I spent 2 years leading my co-workers in the fight for a fair contract and was insulted to find out that we may be back at the table after just 18 months. I trust Dan and the “Organize for Power” team to be honest with our membership and know that electing them will send a strong message to UC that we’re going to be ready to defend what we fought for.”

John West, Staff Research Associate, UC San Francisco

“I’m building this slate because the April 2021 reopener is a serious threat to the future of our union and we need a leadership we can trust to build power by actively campaigning on issues that members care about, winning, and recruiting new members on this basis, especially in this new era of Janus where UPTE has been losing hundreds of members a year.

Shawn Singh, Case Manager, UC San Francisco

“I’m voting for Dan Russell, Matias Campos, and the Organize for Power team because I know that we’ll only be able to fight for better patient care if we engage more and more of our members to fight for what we all deserve. That requires much more communication and greater transparency than I’ve seen from our current leadership.”

Our Endorsers

UC Davis

Rena Decastro-Lobisser, Business Technology Support Analyst

Terri Goehring, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Regina Blaine, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Stefanie Oppenheim, Staff Research Associate

Andrew Winter, System Administrator

Sonya Mogilner, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“I know our Union can be so much stronger than it is now and that’s why I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power slate. I believe our union can win contracts without compromises, such as the reopener, that put our historic wins at risk.”

Lora Knippers-Davis, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

“I support Dan Russell and Organize for Power – for Transparency and Accountability!”

 

UC Berkeley

Jacob Heule, Senior Stagehand

Robert Haycock, Senior Stagehand

Robin Walley, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Eric Avila, Business Technology Support Analyst

Fred Honschke, Business Technology Support Analyst

Mark Henteleff, Staff Research Associate

Nicholas Caldwell, Audio Visual Technician

Nat Rees, Film Exhibition Program Manager

Kenneth Wilson, Business Technology Support Analyst

Mike Meyers, Museum Preparator

Scott Orloff, Museum Preparator

Thirland Ross, Animal Technician

Alyssa Panywai, Counseling Psychologist

Christy Weber, System Administrator

“Dan is able to galvanize, mobilize, and empower members. Collectively, we are then able to improve democracy for all workers rights with great strategies and concrete plans. Dan engages with members often and really listens to our needs. As a result, staff feel empowered to standup against mistreatment, discrimination, bullying, and pay discrepancies. That’s why I’m voting Dan Russell for President along with the rest of the Organize for Power team!”

Darrell C. Alder, Business Technical Analyst

“Why am I endorsing Dan Russell? I am doing so because Dan is a man of integrity. Ever since I met Dan over 5 and 1/2 years ago, he has been nothing but stellar in his activities as a UPTE representative and I have learned many things from him. The most important thing I have seen is his unwavering commitment to the union and his integrity that he has shown the whole time. Dan cares about people and not politics and he has what it takes to lead in the right direction. He has worked hard and is always positive and upbeat and I can’t think of anyone who deserves my vote more than Dan. When I think of Dan Russell as our next UPTE President, a smile comes to my face because I know that the best-qualified candidate has been voted in, and as a person of integrity, I want someone with the same values leading my union.”

Dustin Miller, Business Technology Support Analyst

“I’ve been on the picket lines and organizing meetings. I’ve watched our members grow more involved and at the same time more concerned with the direction our leadership has taken. I’m voting for Dan Russell and Organize for Power because I want leadership willing to work as hard as we are for what we deserve.”

Ezra Daly, Producer/Director

“Last year my colleagues and I went on strike and walked the line for a solid and fair five year contract. What we ended up with was a two year contract under the guise of a five year contract and then back to the drawing board. We need a leader who is forward thinking enough to recognize that due to a short-sighted negotiation we might have to strike again to maintain the benefits we currently have. We need Dan Russell!”

Jean Day, Editor

“I’m endorsing Dan Russell and Organize for Power because the performance of the incumbent leadership team has been so disappointing. After running on a platform that called for for more dynamic and active organizing, they have made little progress. In addition to handing management the gift of a contract re-opener during the last negotiations, the current team fired our newly effective organizers, stalled on contract negotiations with our own staff, and, most important, sat back while our membership declined. We need leaders who are ready to make difficult decisions with transparency while being committed to strengthening our numbers.”

Laura Hansen, Museum Preparator

“I believe that Dan Russell’s leadership will lead our union in the right direction. We’re facing unprecedented challenges moving forward and his advocacy and clear vision will protect our interests.”

Robert Rainey, Business Technology Support Analyst

“I have been placed in and out of the union at different times in my 20 years here at UC Berkeley. Not once was I contacted by them. Now I been contacted and so very well informed since Dan Russell became involved. He and the Organize for Power Team are the very best and next logical step for getting the job done that UPTE requires.”

Skyler Friedline, Staff Research Associate

“I have been unimpressed by the progress of our current state-wide board. Working with Dan Russell on the Berkeley Local 1 Executive board gives me confidence that he has the experience and the enthusiasm to lead us more competently in our fight for workers’ rights!”

Matthew Garet, Physical Therapist

“As I’m sure was the case with many other union members, I wasn’t too worried about the chances of reopening our hard fought contacts, but then the worst case scenario happened and we are looking at a very real possibility of losing everything we fought for and having to start all over again. That’s why I’m supporting the Organizing for Power slate, so we can strengthen our union even more and keep the pay raises and pension security we all deserve.”

Yi Du, Counseling Psychologist

“I support Dan Russell and the Organizing for Power team. From my experience as a UPTE member at UC Berkeley, I know that they truly care about what members want; they spend time listening to us and communicating with the university on behalf of us. I believe that we will achieve a more powerful union with their leadership.”

Ben Kaaya, Business Technology Support Analyst

“Our current President sacrificed our hard work, giving UC the right to take back our raises and cut our pensions when we they can’t do the same to our union allies. We deserve better, and that’s why I’m supporting Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team.”

Danil Smiles, Staff Research Associate

“We put a lot of time and effort into the contract campaign and strikes, and it is frustrating that we may have to go through a lot of it again so soon. I’m voting for Dan and the organize for power team because I believe they will fight for benefits and make sure we don’t end up in this situation again.”

 

 

 

UC San Diego

Judd Laraway, Physican Assistant

Cathy Burgess, Occupational Therapist

Ron Galacgac, Business Technology Support Analyst

Alex Glavis-Bloom, Staff Research Associate

Reymund Pacio, Case Manager

Charles Cannon, System Administrator

“I have met Daniel and I believe he is the right person for the job. He is willing to listen and take action.”

Susan Neese, Speech Pathologist

“I first met Dan at a bargaining meeting two years ago and I was immediately impressed with his enthusiasm, passion, and leadership. I know our Union will be much stronger with Dan Russell and and Organize for Power Team. I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organize for Power Team because I have seen how hard they are willing to work to support my efforts.”

Jessica Salzman, Physical Therapist

“I am a physical therapist at UC San Diego and I got involved during the strike campaigns and experienced first hand how supportive Dan Russell is. He personally came down to San Diego to help rally our team, clarify questions, reiterate the value of our membership, and marched with us on La Jolla campus. I’m voting for Dan Russell and Organizing for Power because I know they will fight for everything we have worked so hard for and they will not settle when the pressure increases.”

Greg Koch, Counseling Psychologist

“A vote for Dan Russell is a vote for a powerful and transparent union!”

 

UC San Francisco

Lia Akhilanda, Clinical Social Worker

Christian McNeil, Physician Assistant

Paul Phojanakong, Staff Research Associate

Laura Habich, Speech-Language Pathologist

Suzanne Petersen, Physician Assistant 

Emily Brumsted, Dietitian

Dave Zablotny, Staff Research Associate

Vincent Reybet-Degat, Clinical Social Worker

Robyn Miles, Clinical Social Worker

Eduardo Hernandez, Clinical Social Worker

Sarah Roberts, Medical Interpreter

Joshua Robinson, Pharmacist

Barton Shulman, Psychologist

Ryan Wilson, Senior Physician Assistant

Reginald Brice, Clinical Social Worker

Audrey Kelly, Pharmacist

Angela Johnston Willis, Pharmacist

Rebecca Florez, Pharmacist

Smita Patel, Staff Research Associate

“I do very important work as an SRA at UCSF, and the whole world could benefit from the drug discoveries for neurodegenerative diseases that we are a huge part of. l’ve been here long enough to know that our Union can be so much stronger than it is now. The Organize for Power team led by Dan Russell have ideas aligned with my own as to growing our organization’s strengths and respect by fighting hard and not letting up pressure on UC. They will not be afraid of the upcoming fight and will not back down and dilute our hard-earned efforts and that’s why I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team.”

Eliana Agudelo, Senior Physician Assistant

“It is a pleasure to endorse Matthew J. Stephen in his nomination for the Executive Board of UPTE. I endorse him because I agree and value his intentions to work for all UPTE members job and pension security and his intentions to promote equity, professionalism, and inclusion of all UPTE members. I endorse Matthew because I know his participation on the UPTE Executive Board will bring a positive change for the membership. “

Kelsey Zorn, Clinical Research Coordinator

“In order to defend our contract and effectively advocate for workers, UPTE systemwide leadership MUST be responsive to members, have a coordinated plan and recognize the critical role that organizing plays in developing power. The folks running on the Organize for Power slate are the only group I’ve seen with the vision, drive and connections to UPTE rank and file to make that happen. I trust Dan Russell, Ursula Quinn, Matias Campos, Carole Netter and Matt Stephen to advocate for my best interest as UPTE Systemwide leaders.”

 

Cosette Audirac, Physician Assistant

“Matt Stephens has a passion for union work. He is one of the few people I know with a true sense of activism guided by altruism. This passion is what I want in my union leadership and that is why I am voting for him and the Organizing for Power slate. He authentically wants to help others by empowering their voice, their vote, and their position in an organization. I trust his leadership. I trust that under the guidance of the Organzing for Power slate, our union will be stronger and accomplish more for union members. I hope you join me in voting for him and the Organizing for Power group!”

Jacob Mallott, Staff Research Associate

Cara Evans, Speech Language Pathologist

“Our union gives us the opportunity to have a say in what how we do our jobs and protections we need to do our jobs. We need strong leadership to advocate for us and accurately and fairly represent us.”

Trina Sheedy, Physician Assistant

“I am a Senior PA at UCSF represented by UPTE-HX unit for the last 7 years. I endorse Dan, Matt, & the Organize for Power slate in their nomination for officers of UPTE. I think a vote for this slate will be a vote for professionalism, collaboration, and positive change!”

Sky Yang, Speech Language Pathologist

“I believe our union can be stronger and that’s why I’m voting for Dan Russell and Matthew Stephen!”

Brittany Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist 

“I would like to see UPTE more successful in representing its members. Matthew Stephen is knowledgeable, collaborative, has integrity, and a good understanding of member’s interests. I am confident he will be a powerful advocate for our union demographic.”

Angela Lopez, Lab Assistant IV

“I do important work as a Lab Assistant in the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Our current president, Jamie, has sacrificed all of our hard work by allowing UC the opportunity to take back our raises, cut our pensions, and further disenfranchise it’s employees in the face of a global pandemic. UPTE can be, and NEEDS to be much stronger than it is now, if we want to be able to wage a strong fight against UC to protect the wins we fought so hard to get. I believe Dan and the Organize for Power team have the skill and the passion to get us there.”

Regina Gould, Physician Assistant

“I support Matt Stephen and the Organize for Power team to keep PA pay equity at UCSF and not to reopen the contract in April 2021.”

Erik Steele Speech Language Pathologist

“We need energetic, proactive leaders like Mathew Stephen and the Organizing for Power team to guide our union through these uncertain times. “

Abby Oehler, Staff Research Associate

“We need honesty, integrity, and transparency from our leadership.”

Sowjanya Prayaga, Staff Research Associate

“I know our Union can be so much stronger than it is now, and that’s why I’m voting for Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team.”

Claire Levy, Staff Research Associate

“At a minimum, what we should want from our union leadership is for them to care about the membership. Having interacted with the current leadership while going through a layoff and observing that the most communicative info-givers during the last contract negotiations were folk in non-leadership roles, it’s not my experience that the current leadership holds ‘care of members’ as a priority. This team has already foreseen fights ahead and are pre-emptively strategizing on how best to counteract attacks to our current contract and bring the units of our union closer together to increase pressure in future negotiations. I encourage you to support them in their mission to support us.”

 

College of the Sequoias

Jodi Baker, Adjunct English Instructor

“Dan cares not just about the needs of the big guys like the UC system, but also the smaller components such as the community colleges that make up part of our union. He actively reaches out to us to see how he can help us make sure our needs are being met and communicates effectively. Communication is one of many factors in a cohesive member-driven union and Dan does that well.”

Mt San Jacinto College

Sandy Blackman, Adjunct History Instructor

Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Carol Baumann, Electronics Engineering Technologist

Los Alamos Lab

Gayla Grimm-Fogle, Group Administrator

 

UC Santa Barbara

Damion Miller, Principal Electronics Tech

Lucas Walker, Business Technology Support Analyst

Ross Derer, Principal Electronics Tech

“I believe Dan is a person who wants to treat everyone equally and not value one campus over another. I believe he will represent every member of each of our bargaining units like he was a member of that group because he has stood by me and spent the time to understand the challenges I face as a small campus at UCSB and he will do the same for you.”

UC Irvine

Sally Kelly, Clinical Laboratory Scientist

“I encouraged my co-workers to strike for a fair contract and was disappointed to find out that our leadership gave UC the opportunity to take what we fought for back less than two years after our ‘victory.’ I’m supporting Dan Russell and the Organize for Power team because I trust them to keep fighting even when the going gets tough.”

UC Riverside

Jack Reid, Development Technician

UC Los Angeles

Thientam Nguyen, Laboratory Mechanician

Loren Nerell, Recording Technician

Peymon Sardari, Nuclear Medicine Technician

Nicole Shoraka, Occupational Therapist

Sarah Panjwani, Speech Pathologist

Judy Fan, Genetic Counselor

Allison Barbera, Dietitian

Lynne Garcia, Dietitian

Carol Catching Kaufman, Dietitian 2

Amy Schnabel, Dietitian

Katie Kephart, Clinical Social Worker

Nataly Cohen, Clinical Social Worker

Michael Van Houten, Pharmacist

Juan Barron, Staff Research Associate

Lauren Walker, Occupational Therapist

Joe Lavy, Case Manager

Simone Riley, Research Associate

Nancy Wicks, Occupational Therapist

“I know through direct personal experience that Ursula Quinn will listen to our needs, is not afraid to speak up, works tirelessly for the Union, and fights hard for our rights!”

Chris Bassett, Staff Research Associate

Elia Silveyra, Clinical Social Worker

“I endorse Organize for Power to continue to have strong representation to all employees.”

Miranda Leggitt, Senior Speech Pathologist

Daniel Salazar, Physical Therapist

Andrew Kesslering, Occupational Therapist

Henga Hooshmand, Clinical Case Manager

Jiin Kim Daines, Physical Therapist

John Muramoto, Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Wandisa Landry, Clinical Case Manager

Recent Communications

Feb 22: Why is UPTE’s President Trying to Delay a New Election?

We regret to inform you that UPTE’s President, Jamie McDole, has called an emergency Executive Board meeting for this Wednesday evening in order to attempt to delay or avoid a new election altogether. This comes less than a week after we learned of her attempt to have her election opponent, Dan Russell, expelled from the union for life.

On February 9th, President McDole’s campaign teammate appealed the UPTE Election Committee’s call for a new election, despite voting to authorize the election re-run at the January 9th Executive Board meeting. Read the appeal here and the original call for a new election here.

Not only are the grounds for this appeal baseless, they contradict the actions and public statements of McDole’s team regarding the need for a new election.

In a campaign email to UPTE members last Friday, President McDole’s team wrote the following: 

“Unfortunately, due to inaccuracies in the member list provided by the election committee, management and non-members voted in our last election.  We also heard from dues-paying members who never received their ballots.  This was not the fault of any candidate or officer.  We look forward to a fair and valid election that ensures that every member has the opportunity to vote.”

Why is President McDole’s team saying one thing to members and another to UPTE’s Executive Board? Why would they appeal now, when the board has met and discussed the need for a new election twice, after their team voted to proceed with the election re-run?

It is clear to us that this appeal is in bad faith and a pretext to delay the upcoming election, retain the advantage of incumbency to campaign for as long as possible, and buy time for their attempt to disqualify President McDole’s opponent in order to automatically retain the Presidency.

We are deeply saddened by the ongoing attempts to undermine the union’s democratic process and the dishonesty of President McDole’s team regarding their position on the need for a new election.

We trust that the Executive Board will reject this appeal and any further attempts to delay the election.

February 14: UPTE’s President is Trying to Disqualify Her Opponent

We have been clear from the beginning of this campaign about our differences with UPTE’s current President, Jamie McDole – and vice versa.

Now, as we move toward a re-run of UPTE’s election, President McDole is attempting to use the union’s internal judicial process to have our Presidential candidate, Dan Russell, expelled from UPTE for life. Click here to read a copy of McDole’s accusations

Not only are these accusations completely spurious, they are dated December 23rd: just two days after candidates were informed by the Election Committee of ballots being sent to thousands of ineligible voters, which led to the election being re-run.

On January 9th, a public supporter of President McDole’s campaign for re-election was put in charge of investigating these accusations, without UPTE’s Executive Board being informed of the conflict of interest involved. Dan only received a copy of these accusations on February 12th.

We have heard from too many members that they are tired of dirty politics in this campaign – and we are too. However, we felt the need to be transparent about this development, which we believe undermines the union’s democratic process. 

We have called for President McDole to drop these accusations and for UPTE’s Executive Board to appoint a new, neutral investigator if she fails to do so before its next meeting. We trust that the Executive Board will do the right thing to protect the union’s democratic process and that an impartial investigator will find these accusations to be without merit. 

President McDole has made three separate accusations – that UPTE footage was “misappropriated” to advantage our campaign, that our campaign “falsely” claimed endorsements of UPTE member leaders, and that Dan “direct[ed] staff to negotiate on behalf of the local.”

The first claim is misleading but we believe that we know what this is referring to. A campaign video initially contained a small amount of footage from a video that is posted publicly on the UPTE Facebook page and which was taken entirely at public events where our candidates and supporters were present.

At the time, President McDole filed a complaint with the Election Committee. We were informally asked if we would remove the footage in question before a formal decision was issued by the Election Committee. We did so immediately, despite the fact that we believe all candidates have a right to use publicly available video of public events.

The second claim is entirely new to us. We only listed endorsements that were given and are unaware of any outstanding requests to have endorsements removed from our website or other campaign materials.

Even if such an accusation were true, we have been advised that attempting to prosecute this would violate federal laws that protect the free speech rights of union members.

We are also unclear about the third claim, including what rule was supposedly violated. Regardless, we are deeply concerned that the current President believes that UPTE’s paid staff – the single largest expenditure of your dues – should not be allowed to assist UPTE’s elected leadership with the important business of the union.

It goes without saying that these accusations are politically motivated. Most of these accusations would apply to our entire slate, and yet a complaint was only made against Dan Russell. We again call for President McDole to drop these accusations and not further taint the union’s election re-run.

February 12: A New Election & Chance for New Leadership

UPTE’s Election Committee has ordered a new election due to serious errors in December’s vote, including thousands of ballots being sent to ineligible voters. We won the majority of votes and seats and were only 10 votes short of winning all 5 positions.

Now, we need your support to make sure that every member knows the second election is happening, receives their ballot, and votes for the entire UPTE Organize for Power Team as soon as their ballot arrives.

A lot is at stake in this new election – with your help we can start on a better path! 

We are running because we believe a union’s power comes from members being informed and involved. UPTE members are facing unprecedented workplace safety and job security concerns in the face of a global pandemic and economic crisis. We will confront these challenges by listening to your concerns, keeping you informed, and making you part of our plan to win the things that matter most to you, your family, and your community.

You deserve leadership that is honest and competent at building our union. Current UPTE President Jamie McDole lied to members about the UC contract as we voted on it in August, 2019. UPTE membership has dropped by 10% in just 2 years, leaving the union with fewer resources at this crucial time. The failure to administer December’s election properly – costing tens of thousands of dollars and members’ trust – is the latest reminder of the urgency of change.

We know UPTE can do better because other unions already have. The California Nurses Association has won and enforced patient care ratios that keep nurses and patients safe and AFSCME 3299 won a contract with improved protection from outsourcing, career conversion language, and with no reopener for wages and retirement.

We have demonstrated our commitment. UPTE’s Executive Vice President Dan Russell played a pivotal role in the successes of our contract fight, alongside many dedicated member leaders who have joined our campaign. The campuses where we lead have the highest UPTE membership of any UC. With sustained organizing and a clear vision, we can accomplish so much more.

We share a common vision for the kind of union we want to build and how to get there, as well as an understanding of why UPTE has fallen short. In order to move forward effectively, we need a team who is united and shares a vision for a stronger, more democratic union.

January 9: New UPTE election delayed, voting suppressed

UPTE’s Election Committee has called for December’s election to be re-run due to administrative errors which allowed ineligible voters to potentially influence the outcome.

Despite these serious problems, we are proud that Organize for Power received the majority of votes and that we were only 9 votes short for President and 8 votes short for Treasurer.

Tentative Results President Vice President Executive VP Secretary Treasurer Total
Organize for Power 1495 1504 1577 1511 1492 7579
UPTE United 1504 1489 1421 1472 1500 7386


Dates have yet to be set for a new election, in part due to a decision by the UPTE Executive Board – proposed by the incumbent leadership – which eliminates the option for members to vote via email.

We are deeply concerned by this attempt to rewrite voting rules mid-election, especially in a manner which will almost certainly result in suppressed voter turnout. Further delays will only damage faith in our democratic process.

UPTE members have shown they are ready for change, thanks to you speaking to your coworkers about the need for a new direction. We need you to do that again if we are going to realize our vision for a more effective, powerful union.

December 7: Bargainers & Board Members for Dan & Organize for Power

We support Dan Russell, Ursula Quinn, Matias Campos, Carole Netter, and Matt Stephen for UPTE leadership because we know that we can have a stronger, more democratic, and transparent union.

Having worked with Dan in his capacity as Systemwide Executive Vice President, 2017-2019 UC Bargaining Team member, and Local 1 President, we have experienced his professionalism, seriousness, and dedication to the needs of all UPTE members.

The main role of union leaders is to listen to members and help us come together to accomplish our shared goals. Dan has proven his ability to connect and motivate members in effective action, playing a pivotal role in engaging and mobilizing members in our contract campaign. 

We believe this team will avoid the mistakes that led to UPTE accepting the April 2021 contract reopener at UC and membership falling by 10%, as well as improving membership engagement and leadership development at our Community Colleges and National Labs. 

We urge you to vote for Dan, Ursula, Matias, Carole and Matt and to encourage your co-workers to do the same.

Brandon Sessler – 2017-2019 UC Bargaining Team Member, Sr. Physician Assistant, UC San Francisco
Damion Miller – 2017-2019 UC Bargaining Team Member & Local 4 President, Principal Electronic Technician, UC Santa Barbara
Jenna Barrett – Local 2 President, Clinical Social Worker 3, UC Los Angeles
Jodi Baker – Systemwide Executive Board Member, Adjunct English Instructor, College of the Sequoias
Paul Phojanakong – Systemwide Executive Board Member & Local 7 Vice President, Lab Assistant 3, UC San Francisco
Robbie Harris – 2017-2019 UC Bargaining Team Member, Recreation Therapist 2, UC Los Angeles
Toni Ward – Systemwide Executive Board Member, Computer Resource Specialist 2, UC Berkeley

December 2: Why does UPTE’s declining membership matter?

We are running for UPTE leadership in order to rebuild the power that so many of us have worked for over the last 3 years. UPTE has lost nearly 10% of its membership since July 2018, almost entirely at the University of California. This was a historic peak in membership after a sustained campaign to increase membership in preparation for the Supreme Court’s ‘Janus’ decision.

July 2018 March 2020 November 2020
9,525 – UC Members
82% – HX Membership
58% – RX Membership
55% – TX Membership
8,865 – UC Members
77% HX Membership
49% RX Membership
48% TX Membership
8,620 – UC Membership
74% – HX Membership
47% – RX Membership
50% – TX Membership
*As Reported To UPTE Executive Board

While our current leadership has attempted to gloss over these losses or blame ‘Janus’ or COVID-19, most of UPTE’s membership decline occurred before March 2020, while our sister UC unions AFSCME 3299 and CNA have maintained far higher membership under the same circumstances thanks to stronger organizing. The majority of our losses have not come from existing members cancelling their membership but from a failure to engage and sign up new hires as existing members leave UC. Read more about why these losses matter and what Organize for Power will do to reverse them below.

If you haven’t already, submit your vote for Dan Russell, Ursula Quinn, Matias Campos, Carole Netter, and Matt Stephen today! If you have, please let us know by filling out our “I’ve Voted” form

Your ballot should have arrived via email with the title “UPTE-CWA Local 9119 System-wide Officers election login information below” sent from “UPTE-CWA Election Committee <noreply@directvote.net>.” Click here to see instructions on filling out your ballot and email info@upte-cwa.org if you haven’t received it yet.

How does declining membership affect you?

While this primarily affects members at UC, it has an enormous impact on UPTE’s budget and means fewer resources for our Community Colleges and National Labs as well. Community College members lost their Systemwide organizing support nearly 3 years ago as UPTE laid off staff in preparation for Janus. 

The current leadership’s failure to proactively budget and prioritize led to UPTE going without any systemwide organizing staff from April 2019 through September 2020 – staff who should have been available to support our Lawrence Livermore contract campaign and Community Colleges.

Our employers have access to our exact membership numbers at any given time. How will UC react to seeing our declining membership rates as they decide whether to try to take back up to 18% of our raises and cut our retirement benefits in April 2021? We have already seen UC cancel scheduled raises for non-union employees, ask unions to give back raises and shame us when we refused, force union employees to take additional unpaid days off, lay off staff, and cut pay for top executives.

Just this week, UC’s new President warned of the need for ongoing measures to tackle a “ $2 billion budget deficit” and avoid layoffs. In an email to UPTE members on November 25th, UPTE’s current President McDole spun this as “good news,” yet again glossing over the fact that our contracts allow UC to renegotiate our raises and retirement in April 2021.

UPTE Raises Guaranteed 2019-2021 UPTE Raises At Risk 2021-2024 AFSCME 3299 Raises Guaranteed Through 2024
12% – Research (RX), Technical (TX)
14% – Healthcare (HX)
17% – Research (RX), Technical (TX)
18% – Healthcare (HX)
30% – Service (SX)
32% – Patient Care Technical (EX)

 

What would ‘Organize for Power’ have done – and what will we do – differently?

Systematic New Employee Recruitment: The first step is making sure UC meets their contractual obligation to facilitate every new employee meeting with UPTE member-leaders or staff. Where this doesn’t succeed, we will use using targeted emails, phone calls, and texting to communicate with new employees who do not have a union leader in their worksite. This is especially important during the pandemic where so many members are suddenly working from home.

Building worksite leadership: Just as important is a sustained effort to make sure we have a leader in every worksite. This would not only make it easier to recruit new members but to maintain membership and allow us to deal with worksite issues in a timely fashion. It would let us keep members more informed about what the union is doing and develop plans to proactively address issues that members care about: patient care, professional development, workload, worksite safety, pay equity, etc.

Focusing on unique needs of our membership: As a diverse union that represents dozens of job titles, UPTE has done little to facilitate ongoing organizing based on issues that matter to different professions across the state. Starting these conversations now will put us in a better place to make changes in the short term and win more particular changes in our next contract negotiations.

During our previous contract negotiations, members were told that they were entirely responsible for doing their own research and crafting their own title-specific proposals, leading important proposals for market equity and career development to never make it to the bargaining table.

If you haven’t already, submit your vote for Dan Russell, Ursula Quinn, Matias Campos, Carole Netter, and Matt Stephen today! If you have, please let us know by filling out our “I’ve Voted” form

Your ballot should have arrived via email with the title “UPTE-CWA Local 9119 System-wide Officers election login information below” sent from “UPTE-CWA Election Committee <noreply@directvote.net>.” Click here to see instructions on filling out your ballot and email info@upte-cwa.org if you haven’t received it yet.

November 23: Your Opportunity To Vote For A Stronger Union

We’re running for UPTE leadership because a stronger, more effective, and professional union is possible: one that can improve not just wages and benefits but give us a voice at work and influence on the policies that affect us as public employees. 

A stronger union is more urgent than ever given today’s crisis. We have lost nearly 1,000 members (10% of our membership) in the last 2 years, with most of those losses coming before COVID. This is a clear sign that change is urgently needed.

Our union’s power comes from our members, which is why we commit to proactive, sustained organizing to grow membership and participation. We will take the time to find out what issues matter the most to you and organize campaigns that will secure real victories, whether in response to increased work demands, job security, pay equity, patient care, or workplace safety. 

How Organize For Power Will Strengthen our Union

Long-Term Planning For Known Challenges: We need long-term strategic plans that inform and involve members in shaping our demands and strategy. By leveraging our member power at the worksite, in the public eye, and in the political arena we can conclude contract campaigns quickly and successfully.

Today, UPTE Systemwide has left our members woefully unprepared for our contract negotiations at Lawrence Livermore Lab and the looming April 2021 UC wage and retirement reopener.

Ongoing Member Engagement: We will continue organizing around issues on a daily basis. Campaigns to improve workload, job security, pay equity, patient care, or workplace safety will let us continue to build our power and develop a team of member-leaders in every worksite.

Members at our Community Colleges lack even basic job security provisions, just as members at UC lack the stronger standards already established by AFSCME 3299 and the California Nurses Association. We can raise standards for all of our members with sustained organizing.

Communication: We will adopt a proactive internal communications program that will let you understand what the union is planning, how you can get involved, and share our successes from other worksites and campuses. We will also develop a communications program for the public and elected officials so that they understand how our interests are aligned.

Today, UPTE communications are lacking across the board, at all levels. Our member leadership rarely hears directly from Systemwide leadership and members see only sporadic electronic communications. UPTE has still never fully informed members about the details of the April 2021 contract reopener nor corrected the misleading information provided while we voted on our Tentative Agreement.

Growing Our Union: Bringing new groups of workers into our union is a key way to build our power and requires carefully-planned campaigns to succeed. We will run focused organizing drives that will not be derailed by poor planning and unaddressed crises in other areas of the union.

Three years after becoming represented by UPTE, Systems Administrators still have not received any of the raises from our recent contract campaign. What will it mean for the promising Student Services Professionals campaign if we are drawn back into a fight for fair wages and retirement for our existing UC membership?

Building Political Power: There could not be a more urgent time to have a voice in Sacramento and Washington, as state and federal budgets are being slashed in response to the economic crisis. We will leverage the authority and power of our front-line, essential workers to make sure that our political representatives stand with us in our times of need.

Sadly, UPTE’s Political Director left more than 9 months ago and has still not been replaced, while no plan has been offered to build or leverage political power to address the COVID-related crisis. 

We Can Do Better

The election is in eight days. If you agree that we need a stronger and more effective union, please click here to let us know that we can count on you to vote on December 1st. For more information, visit OrganizeUPTE.org or respond to this email to ask a question or schedule a time to talk with one of our candidates.

November 20: How Do We Defend Our Raises & Retirement in April?

Our union election, which begins on December 1st, will determine whether we can defend the remaining 18% in raises and secure retirement that we negotiated in our UC contracts.

This is because of a clause that allows UC to renegotiate both compensation and retirement in April of 2021. This directly affects our represented UC members but could also have a serious effect on UPTE’s ability to support our members at Community Colleges and National Labs and rebuild our falling membership at UC.

UPTE Organize for Power is running in this election as an alternative to the incumbent UPTE President, Jamie McDole, who put us in this vulnerable position and has not prepared us for what we may face in less than 6 months.

What Is The Contract Reopener?

The contract reopener is a provision in our HX, RX, and TX contracts which allows UC to renegotiate compensation and retirement in April of 2021. All scheduled raises in our contracts could be suspended and we would have to restart the negotiations process, which initially lasted from May of 2017 to August of 2019. 

UC could propose to cancel our remaining raises and step increases and propose new cuts to our retirement benefits. The language of the reopener is available on UC’s website for RX and TX. You can see an unsigned version of the HX reopener here, which has identical language.

Was Accepting The Reopener Necessary?

No. AFSCME 3299 continued fighting for just six more months and won stronger contracts with no reopener, securing their raises and retirement for 3 more years through 2024. President McDole, who was also UPTE’s Chief Negotiator, was advised not to accept the re-opener by Executive Vice President Dan Russell and other bargaining team members because it could leave UPTE isolated and vulnerable to be singled out by UC. 

While CNA-represented nurses gave UC the opportunity to reopen in April 2020, President McDole failed to align our re-opener with theirs. Moreover, UPTE currently lacks the membership power and political influence which prevented UC from reopening on CNA and allowed CNA to secure a contract a year before UPTE. UPTE members are now the only union employees facing a reopener in the midst of a historic pandemic and economic crisis.

Has Our Current President Adequately Prepared Us For This Threat?

No. In emails that were sent as UPTE members voted on the contract, President McDole misled us by writing that the reopener would occur “[s]hould the California state government pass changes that affect our retirement plans.” The actual language of the reopener agreement makes clear that no government action is needed for UC to reopen on wages or retirement. Since then, UPTE has neither issued a correction nor shared the full details of the contract reopener with members.

Worse, UPTE has now lost nearly 1,000 members since 2018, falling from more than 10,600 members to less than 9,800 members today. UC knows that UPTE is weaker today than it was 2 years ago because they collect our dues, which may influence their decision to reopen.

What Would Organize for Power Have Done Differently?

Mobilizing: We would have pressed on until we had a fair contract so that we would have maximum leverage at the negotiating table. President McDole began telling members that UPTE wouldn’t need to strike after May 2019 once she had secured a private meeting with former UC President Napolitano. Once UC knew that UPTE had demobilized our members it felt little pressure to meet our full demands.

Bargaining: We would not have announced a Tentative Agreement to our members until UC had finalized their offer and would have called their bluff on the reopener. President McDole announced that we had a Tentative Agreement to UPTE members before UPTE’s bargaining team had even seen the actual language of the reopener agreement. Having continued mobilizing members, we would have told UC that there would be no deal with a reopener and gone back to the bargaining table in a position of strength.

Informing: Had we felt that a reopener was a necessary compromise, after appropriate consultation with UPTE’s member leadership, we would have fully informed members of the details of the reopener and the threat that it represented. President McDole did not present the Tentative Agreement to UPTE’s Systemwide Executive Board before she put it before members for a vote. UPTE Executive Vice President Dan Russell was the only “No” vote when the contract was finally brought before the Executive Board in August 2019.

Organizing: We would have continued organizing and building our membership power from the minute we ratified the contract, reopener or not. A contract victory was the perfect opportunity to increase membership by advertising the huge movement that UPTE members were able to achieve through our hard work and sacrifice. Instead, membership has fallen by hundreds since September 2019.

What Will Organize For Power Do Differently When Elected?

Mobilizing: We will begin the long overdue organizing campaign which builds toward the mobilization of a majority of our members. It was the unprecedented participation of UPTE members that allowed us to move UC executives during our contract campaign and the same can move them again, either to convince them not to reopen or to defend what we fought so hard for.

Political Pressure: Create a campaign that puts the important work that UPTE members do in the public eye and in front of key politicians, who could press UC not to reopen. UPTE members are essential workers on the front-lines of the pandemic, whether providing patient care, doing research, educating, or doing technical work behind the scenes that make all of this possible. UC should be afraid of the political consequences of attacking front-line workers during a pandemic.

Coalition Building: Engage our union coalition and community allies. UC executives are the only ones who stand to benefit from reopening our contract at this crucial time. We will work with our union allies and the rest of the UC community to press UC executives not to unnecessarily distract from the life-saving work that UPTE members are an integral part of.

Will UC really reopen our contract?

All signs indicate that UC executives are using the pandemic as an excuse to cut labor costs wherever possible. They have taken away raises from non-union staff, cut the salaries of top executives, asked unions to voluntarily give up their raises, and shamed us when we have refused to do so.

We believe that UC is likely to reopen because of this but know that we must be prepared for any outcome by informing our members of the threat that we all face and rebuilding our power. There is no downside of being prepared but the consequences of not doing so could be enormous. This is a key reason we believe new UPTE leadership is so necessary.

What can I do now?

Vote: The most important action that UPTE members can take now is by voting Organize for Power the upcoming UPTE elections on December 1st, showing UC that the same UPTE President who put us in this position will not be responsible for getting us out of it.

Commit to vote & spread the word: If you believe our union can be stronger and more proactive, click here to let us know that we can count on you to vote Organize for Power on December 1st. Talk to your co-workers and learn more about our campaign at OrganizeUPTE.org

November 25: The UPTE Election & Urgent Threats Facing Our Union

We are running for UPTE leadership in Tuesday’s election because you deserve an honest accounting of the threats that you face and leaders who will proactively plan to address them and avoid future ones, rather than hiding them in the hope that they disappear. 

Vote for Organize for Power so that we can begin the work of defending what we’ve won and achieving more in the future. You should receive a ballot via email on Tuesday, December 1st, unless you requested a mail-in ballot.

UC Can Take Back 18% in Raises and Cut Our Retirement in April 2021

UPTE’s current President has avoided talking about the most immediate threat to our union: an April 2021 contract reopener (click here for details) which allows UC to take back up to 18% in scheduled raises and cut our retirement. UPTE’s current President made mistakes that led to us accepting the reopener, including misleading members as we voted on the contract without ever issuing a correction. Meanwhile, AFSCME 3299 won a contract with all raises guaranteed through 2024. 

UPTE Raises Guaranteed 2019-2021 UPTE Raises At Risk 2021-2024 AFSCME 3299 Raises Guaranteed Through 2024
12% – Research (RX), Technical (TX)
14% – Healthcare (HX)
17% – Research (RX), Technical (TX)
18% – Healthcare (HX)
30% – Service (SX)
32% – Patient Care Technical (EX)

A 10% Decline in Membership at UC

UPTE’s ongoing decline in membership is almost entirely based at UC, which, along with COVID-related economic stress, incentivizes UC to reopen our contract because they know we are weaker than we were 2 years ago and are the only union facing this threat.

These losses also destabilize UPTE’s finances and even threaten the ability to force UC to negotiate with us at all. The membership rate for our Research Unit has fallen to 47%, while the Technical Unit is at just 50%.*

July 2018 March 2020 November 2020
9,525 – UC Members
82% – HX Membership
58% – RX Membership
55% – TX Membership
8,865 – UC Members
77% HX Membership
49% RX Membership
48% TX Membership
8,620 – UC Membership
74% – HX Membership
47% – RX Membership
50% – TX Membership
*As Reported To UPTE Executive Board

Community Colleges and National Labs Left to Fend for Themselves

Lawrence Livermore Lab members have worked hard to negotiate a new contract with their aggressively anti-union employer but have made little progress in over a year, with little support from UPTE Systemwide.

Community College members have struggled to make progress on the urgent issue of job security without the support that they used to receive from UPTE Systemwide.

Insufficient Response to Workplace Concerns

Members continue to lack support in addressing workplace issues, with few trained stewards and UPTE staff prevented from helping members in many cases. At best, members have to wait months for resolution through the grievance process when the contract is violated. Stronger workplace organization could produce quicker results on more issues.

Failure to Grow the Union

As UPTE’s represented membership has dropped precipitously, little progress has been made to organize new groups of workers. The last group of new workers to achieve UPTE representation were Systems Administrators in 2017, who have yet to see any of the raises from our contract fight. The hard work of Student Services Professionals fighting for UPTE representation could be seriously undermined if UPTE were forced back to the bargaining table in April.
 


A New Leadership is Necessary

We’re running for UPTE leadership because we believe you deserve better, and we know a stronger, more effective, and more professional union is possible. We believe our union’s power comes from our members, which is why we commit to sustained organizing to grow participation, not just a last-minute response when a crisis is already on top of us. We will focus our efforts on the issues most important to you and keep fighting until we secure real victories.

How Organize For Power Will Strengthen Our Union:

Long-Term Planning for Known Challenges: We need long-term strategic plans that inform and involve members in shaping our demands and strategy. By leveraging our member power at the worksite, in the public eye, and in the political arena we can conclude contract campaigns quickly and successfully.

Ongoing Engagement on Issues That Matter: We will continue organizing around issues that matter to you on a daily basis. Ongoing campaigns to improve workload, job security, pay equity, patient care, or workplace safety will let us continue to build our power and develop a team of member-leaders in every worksite.

Communication: We will adopt a proactive internal communications program that will let you understand what the union is planning, how you can get involved, and share our successes from other worksites and campuses. We will also develop an ongoing communications program for the public and elected officials so that they understand how our interests are aligned.

Growing Our Union: Bringing new groups of workers into our union is a key way to build our power and requires carefully-planned campaigns to succeed. We will run focused organizing drives that will not be derailed by poor planning and unaddressed crises in other areas of the union.

Building Political Power: There could not be a more urgent time to have a voice in Sacramento and Washington, as state and federal budgets are being slashed in response to the economic crisis. We will leverage the authority and power of our front-line, essential workers to make sure that our political representatives stand with us in our times of need.

We Deserve Better

The election starts in six days. If you agree that we need a stronger and more effective union, commit to vote on December 1st. For more information, visit OrganizeUPTE.org or reply to this email to find a time to talk with one of our officer candidates.