Stay informed!

You might think that the whole unionization issue is all over but the UAW is still going around collecting authorization cards using the same fraudulent behavior they used at UC campuses in the past.

How do we know? We still keep getting emails from postdocs (the latest two from UCSD) about how they signed the authorization cards because the union reps were lying to them about it, later were informed by colleagues what they have actually just done, were directed to this blog and expressed their frustration by an email to us. Unfortunately there is not much we can do about an already signed authorization card. The best advice in such a situation is complaining to PRO/UAW, Office of the President (UC), Office of Labor Relations (UC) and Antita Martinez at PERB. How to reach them can be found in the Make your voice heard! section.

However, by far the best one can do even before signing anything is staying informed and encouraging colleagues the same! Read the applicable labor laws, contact PRO/UAW and get their opinion, contact the Office of Labor Relations (UC in general and your compus specifically) and even though they won’t comment on specific union related issues they can tell you what your rights are and contact campus, local or national media outlets!

Revoke your card!

If you signed an authorization card already and didn’t know what you were doing but realized later that you have been misled by union reps you can still revoke your card. Write to the Office of the President at president@ucop.edu and express your concern about UAW and state that the union does not represent you (if you signed the card the union might use your name as a postdoc whom they represent).

How the UAW was stopped in 2006

As noted in the History of PRO/UAW section, the UAW already tried in 2006 to fraudulently create a postdoc union. The tactics were the same as in 2008-2009, however at that time postdocs were more alert and active and the UAW was stopped. They patiently waited for 2-3 years so that postdocs involved in their first attempt would leave UC since postdocs are typically employed for 2-3 years. So they tried again in 2008 hoping that the new people haven’t heard about them before and their original tactics would work this time.

It’s important to review how exactly the UAW was defeated in 2006. Somebody from UCSF set up a website called antiprouaw.org, which is no longer operational, and postdocs unhappy with the UAW organized themselves around this site. Good news is that a web.archive.org snapshot of this site is still accessible and is definitely worth taking a look:

http://web.archive.org/web/20071011055857/http://www.antiprouaw.org/

It details in chilling similarity the same stories as you can find on this blog, only the date is not 2008-2009 but 2006. The UAW used the exact same dishonest and fraudulent tactics to collect authorization cards.

Just as the UAW was stopped in 2006, they may be stopped this time too, if a small group of dedicated postdoc volunteers (who are currently employed by UC) are willing to put some time/effort/energy into it. Without a pushback from postdocs the UAW will have its way and will collect more than $300 annually from every UC postdoc.

Still no agreement

Despite the fact that the unionization process at UC has been kept under the radar of most postdocs, it’s good to know that the UC administration and PRO/UAW still has not reached an agreement. This means, as we stated before, that there is still no collective contract and the union still can not collect agency fees and dues.

There is hope that the negotiations will be delayed even further and if all new postdocs refuse to sign cards the union will simply run out of valid cards as many postdocs leave UC.

Hence it is very important that postdocs keep informing their colleagues, especially the new ones, about the fraudulent methods of PRO/UAW.

Inform new postdocs!

Since the UC administration and the PRO/UAW union still haven’t reached an agreement during their negotiations and consequently there is still no collective contract (which is a good thing!) the union is still trying to recruit people using the same methods that they have used in the past. See the authorization cards section.

Since postdocs are employed for 1-2-3 years typically, as time goes by many of them leave. As a result, the authorization cards that the union has ‘expire’ so to speak, because the person who has signed it leaves UC. If the union would not do anything, after some time they would have no valid cards left. Hence, they are trying as hard as ever to collect cards using the same deceptive techniques as before.

The best targets for them are the new postdocs who potentially do not know anything about the unionization story so they are easy to fraud. Hence it is very important that new postdocs are alerted and are offered a complete picture about UAW and about unionization in general. Only then they can judge for themselves whether they want to sign the cards or not.

Please inform the new postdocs at your department about unionization and the past practices of UAW!

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Having doubts?

We were asked a couple of times: the union reps are saying one thing, I read another thing on this website, how do I know who is telling the truth?

That is a very good question and anyone can find the answer by calling the PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) The PERB is a California state agency whose mission is (from their webiste):

“The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB or Board) is a quasi-judicial administrative agency charged with administering the collective bargaining statutes covering employees of California’s public schools, colleges, and universities, employees of the State of California, employees of California local public agencies (cities, counties and special districts), trial court employees andsupervisory employees of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”

In other words they know what the applicable labor laws are concerning UC postdoc unionization and they are a neutral and impartial body.

The regional director is Anita Martinez, you can find her phone number here: http://www.perb.ca.gov/contact/PhoneDir_SF.aspx

You can call her (usually her phone is switched off but if you leave a name and phone number on her voice mail she will get back to you) and ask her about all the labor law related questions you might have. You can specifically ask about:

  1. confirmation of decertification process as detailed under the decertification section
  2. confirmation that the labor union could decide to collect fees and dues from members only (but UAW chooses to charge everybody, even non-members, around $300-400 annually)
  3. confirmation about the history of UAW at UC in 2006
  4. any other topic related to postdoc unionization at UC

Once you collected the impartial and neutral information from a California state agency you can decide for yourself who you believe, the UAW or the information you read here.

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Still no contract

We have been asked this question by many.

The fact is that the UC administration and the union still has not reached an agreement. This means that there is still no collective contract. This also means that the union can not collect fees and dues. Once a collective contract is negotiated and an agreement is reached, the union will start collecting fees and dues, around $300-400 annually from every postdoc, including those who do not wish to be a member. Hence we hope the UC administration and the union will not reach an agreement for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, we are in the process of evaluating the best strategy for collecting signatures for ‘no representation’. These need to be collected, sorted, etc, and once we have 50%+1 they can be attached to a petition to be sent to PERB. Then the PERB organizes a vote and if the outcome is that the majority indeed does not want representation, the union will cease to exist. For more details please see the decertification section.

Stay tuned, once we have a good strategy for collecting signatures, it will be announced here and postdocs will be contacted so nothing will happen without all postdocs knowing about it.

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