Important information for UC counseling psychologists about an UPTE strike vote

Choose language

The University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE) union that represents UC counseling psychologists, has announced it will be asking members to authorize a strike against UC. In UC’s view, strikes unfairly impact students and should not be used as a negotiating tactic. It is very important that all UC counseling psychologists understand what this vote means and the implications of a strike, and make an informed choice about whether or not to support a strike. Below are answers to important questions.

Q. What is a “strike authorization vote”?
A. A strike authorization vote is the process by which bargaining unit employees vote on whether or not to support a strike.

Q. What if I don’t support a strike – am I obligated to vote?
A. If you are eligible to vote, and do not believe a strike is in your best interest, it’s important your union leaders understand your position.

Q. Can anyone in the bargaining unit vote?
A. Rules governing voting vary by union, but you still can make your views known to your union leaders and your bargaining unit colleagues through letters, emails, social media, etc., and also by talking with your colleagues and union representatives.

Q. As an UPTE-represented employee, am I obligated to strike? Can I be penalized by the union for not striking?
A. No employee is ever under any obligation to strike. Unions are legally prohibited from threatening or coercing members in other ways to keep them from coming to work. However, some unions have the right to levy fines against dues-paying members, but not non-members, who choose to work during a strike, including a sympathy strike. A dues-paying member who does not wish to strike may want to contact her/his local union representative to confirm there will not be fines. Even if the union does levy fines, UC will not deduct union fines from employees’ paychecks.

Q. If I come to work during a strike, what pay and benefits will I receive?
A. If you come to work, you will receive the same compensation and benefits as you normally do.

Q. If I don't come to work as a result of the strike, will I continue to receive my pay and benefits? May I use compensatory time or vacation for the time I miss?
A. Employees will not be paid for time lost due to participating in a strike. Employees who participate in a strike will not be allowed to use compensatory time or vacation leave to make up for the pay they lose due to striking. Benefits that are affected by the percentage of time worked during the month may be affected.

Q. Will I lose pay for participating in a strike?
A. If any employee does not report to work as assigned, UC will presume — absent prior authorization or medical certification — that her/his absence from work during a declared strike period is strike-related. Employees who are absent from work without authorization during a strike will not be paid for the absence. As is always the case, authorization for an absence from work (e.g., vacation leave) may or may not be granted, depending on operational necessity and without regard to the employee's reason for the requested leave.

Q. Is it legal for UPTE to strike?
A. State law requires that strikes be considered only as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. UC does not believe UPTE has, in good faith, exhausted all options, and UC believes a strike would represent an unfair labor practice because negotiations are ongoing. Ultimately, UC and UPTE must resolve their differences and come to an agreement. UC’s goal is to come to an agreement as soon as possible, and UC believes a strike would be counterproductive to negotiations.