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July Legislative Update- Axel E. Borg V.P. for Legislation


Political Report                                                                     July 15, 2012

Currently the Legislature is in recess and will return in August. With the budget approved the Governor and the Legislature will be focusing on passage of Proposition 30, the Governor’s tax initiative.  There is also a lot of talk around the state capital about pension reform.

The success of Proposition 30 is critical to the short-term financial status of UC, as well as all other levels of education in California. Failure to pass Prop 30 will have severe consequences for both librarians and lecturers.  It is very difficult to pass a tax increase in California, so UC-AFT members should prepare to help educate friends and family on this initiative.  Expect to see campaign material coming from UC-AFT and other labor sources in the near future.

Governor Brown has proposed a plan to reform public pensions.  The Legislature is working with many public sector unions to ensure that the ultimate goal of pension reform is a healthy and sustainable defined benefit plan for state workers. Governor Brown has said that he will not pursue legislation to implement pension reform, but he expects to make progress through negotiations.

Currently, UCOP is taking the position that UC pension plan is outside of the Governor’s and the Legislature’s pervue. In addition, UC is in the process of negotiating pension changes with several UC unions.  Currently, both UC-AFT bargaining units have the right to negotiate changes to retirement benefits, and we join with our sister unions, UPTE, AFSCME and CNA in opposing a two-tier system.  As both units are currently in bargaining we are carefully watching what develops within UC regarding the retirement programs, and possible implications for both of our bargaining units. It is in our members’ best interest that UCRP remain a healthy and viable system. One piece of good news is that the proposed new tier would be a ‘defined benefit’ program and not the ‘defined contribution’ program that was initially proposed. Certainly, public pensions are an issue now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

In addition to the two issues before the Governor and the Legislature, UC-AFT has a stake in Speaker Perez’s AB 1500 and AB 1501 which would reduce tuition for UC and CSU students from families making under $150,000.00 annually.

Lastly, Proposition 32 by Citizens United would prohibit payroll deductions to fund political actions and elections. While on the surface appearing to be neutral, this proposition would cripple the ability of unions to participate in the political process. Unlike unions, which rely on membership to support political action by way of payroll deductions, virtually all money raised by corporations comes from exorbitantly paid, ultra wealthy corporate CEOs.

Unions across California under the leadership of the California Labor Federation are gearing up to fight Prop 32. CFT, our parent union, will be participating in this effort to curtail the ability of unions to effectively participate in the political process. We can expect to see political recommendations and guidance from the CFT in early September, when the K-12 folks return for their academic year.

In anticipation of CFT’s political recommendations we are posting such information on our website. Locals can consult for such information. Locals interested in specific bills such as those addressing our members who also work for the community college system can consult those same pages. If there are bills that we have not addressed, that information can be sent to me, Axel Borg, at or to Bill Quirk at .

Current ballot information can be found at

Respectfully submitted,

Axel E. Borg

VP for Legislation