In 2008 the UAW has filed for recognition as the exclusive representative of UC postdocs. This means that the UAW has collected 50% + 1 authorization cards from UC postdocs and the PERB (Public Employment Relations Board) has recognized the signatures as legitimate. According to law, if 50% + 1 authorization cards are collected and found to be legitimate by the PERB, the filing body, UAW in this case, must be recognized as the exclusive representative.
We claim that a large number of these signatures were obtained through fraudulent behavior on the part of UAW representatives. This fraudulent behavior includes
- Interrupting postdocs in their work during office hours.
- Refusing to identify themselves by their full name
- Refusing to identify their association
- Lying about the true nature of the authorization cards
- Lying about the procedure in which a labor union is formed
In 2006 a similar unionization drive, accompanied by similar fraudulent behavior, was launched by the UAW. See the history of UAW at UC page for more details. Also, see the links on the left on how UAW employed the same tactics at other universities in the past.
Points 4. and 5. are the most grave and will be outlined in more detail below. Some of these questionable activities were documented by Science Magazine as early as September 2008.
Lying about the true nature of the authorization cards
UAW reps were consistently and deliberately lying about the actual reason they were collecting signatures. The purpose of these lies were to make postdocs believe that nothing really depends on these signatures and nothing will be determined by these signatures. The various deliberate lies and misleading statements by UAW reps include the following.
Signing the card just means you want more information!
At UC Davis the UAW reps claimed that signing the card simply means that the postdoc wishes to receive more information about the unionization process.
Signing the card just means you want to have a vote in the future!
At UCSD the UAW reps claimed that signing the card just means that the postdoc supports the idea of organizing a vote in the future at which vote all postdocs can have their say in whether they want to form a union or not.
It’s just a survey about your employment!
At UCSF the UAW reps presented 8 x 10 sheets of papers to postdocs with the word SURVEY printed at the top. Questions like “Do you want higher wages?” or “Do you want better working conditions?” appeared on this sheet and postdocs signed the cards thinking that they are filling out a survey.
Lying about the procedure in which a labor union is formed
Responding to postdoc queries about the way in which the union may or may not be formed in the future UAW reps lied also.
There will be a vote!
UAW reps claimed that in any case there will be a final vote among postdocs that will determine whether the union is formed or not. This was not the case since according to law if 50% + 1 signatures are collected the union must be formed automatically.
Who will need to pay will be determined in the future but only if the union is formed!
UAW reps were consistently hiding the fact that once the labor union is formed every postdoc is required by law to pay either membership fees or agency dues. The difference between these two types of amounts is negligible, both are around 1% of the gross income.
The fact that if 50% + 1 cards are collected the union is automatically created was not mentioned by the UAW reps. Also, it was not mentioned that when the union is already formed even those postdocs who choose not to be a member have to pay agency fees around 1% of their gross salaries.