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A Call to Action for November Elections


As we return from the summer and begin the next academic year we face a challenging future at the University of California. One way that we can influence the direction of the University is through political action. Your union, UCAFT, is working with our sister unions in the University;  AFSCME, UPTE, UAW and CNA, as well as our state-level affiliate, the California Federation of Teachers, to make sure our voice is heard and our stake in our future is understood. 

Because the University of California is a public institution, chartered by the State Constitution, political action is both appropriate and necessary. Each of us is both an employee of the University and a citizen of the state and as such we have both a responsibility for, and a vested interest in the governance of the University. This fall we will be voting on a number of issues, two of which will have an especially significant impact on the University:  Proposition 25 and the Governor’s race. 

Proposition 25 would allow the state legislature to pass budgets with a simple majority, reducing the 2/3rds majority requirement that currently allows the minority party to hold the budget hostage.  Late state budgets adversely impact UC-AFT members every year through delayed appointment letters and uncertain employment for the coming year.  

In the Governor's race, Meg Whitman is running on a platform that vilifies public sector workers and the poor.  Her plan to increase higher education funding would gut welfare benefits for the state's poorest citizens to pay for the university.   Whitman has targeted public sector pensions and unions with a vow to dismantle them.  UC-AFT is currently working hard to resist UC's effort to dramatically reduce retirement benefits.  As we work internally to resist the university's crisis narrative regarding pension sustainability, we must also reach out to help tear down Whitman's platform.  

In the greater scheme of things we are a small but significant union. We are librarians and lecturers and as such we provide information and we instruct. Both of those functions are important to the political process and I invite you to take your professional skills and apply them in the coming election. Educate others about what we do and why election choices are important to the University. Share information about the issues with others so that they can make intelligent, informed choices.

There will be the opportunity for us as union members to directly participate in the political process through volunteering for precinct walking and phone banking. When the call comes, please consider volunteering your time to help the electorate understand how their choices are impacting the University of California and how we are in grave danger of losing one of the great gems of public education.

Axel E. Borg

UC-AFT V.P. for Legislation

UC Davis Librarian