UC Berkeley News


UC Administrative staff to vote on union representation
Systemwide mail ballot to decide issue of representation by UPTE

| 02 February 2004

Over the next several weeks, the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) will hold an election to determine whether the University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), affiliated with the Communication Workers of America, should become the exclusive representative for many University professional staff, including designated employees in administrative, computer, student affairs officer, and other titles. These employees are currently covered by Personnel Policies for Staff Members.

The election will take place between February 11 and March 3, 2004. Employees who were in one of the unit titles as of October 31, 2003 and still in the unit on the date of the election are eligible to vote by secret ballot. Ballots will be mailed to employees’ home addresses. After the election, the votes are counted at PERB with the University and union present, and challenges to the ballots (mostly on voter eligibility criteria) are resolved.

The election will be decided by a majority of those who vote, not a majority of those who are eligible to vote. If the outcome is "no representation," the current employment conditions continue. If the union is selected as the exclusive representative, the union and the University then begin work on negotiating a contract. The provisions of PPSM apply to these employees until the first contract is ratified.

What does union representation mean?
As exclusive representative, UPTE would bargain wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment for all employees in the bargaining unit, whether or not the employees join the union. Union members pay dues to the union each month and vote in union decisions (elect union officials, vote on wage proposals and other contract terms, etc.). Employees who are represented by a union but are not dues-paying members may be required to pay a monthly fee to the union for representing them – called "agency fee" – and cannot vote in union decisions unless the union chooses to include non-members in the process. As an example, employees represented by UPTE in technical titles currently pay monthly dues or agency fees of 1.15% of retirement gross income, with a monthly $25.00 cap if the annual salary is $30,000 or less, or a $35.00 monthly cap if the annual salary is more than $30,000, up to a maximum of $420.00 per year.

Inform yourself and vote
UC supports employees' rights to determine for themselves whether or not they think unionization is beneficial. In order to make this decision, employees should learn all they can about the issue, by learning about the impacts of union representation and reviewing the bargaining agreements that cover other represented employees. (Current UC bargaining agreements are posted online.)

For more information about the upcoming election, including frequently asked questions and a list of the titles included in the bargaining unit, check the Human Resources website. If you have questions, talk to your supervisor or manager, or write to apelect@uclink.berkeley.edu.