Resolution to Condemn the University of California For Blocking UC Workers' Right to Strike and Spending Public Funds on Union Busters

WHEREAS, University of California (UC) nurses issued a 10-day strike notice for June 10, 2010, to get UC to address chronic unresolved staffing problems at their medical centers; and

WHEREAS, UC, through their Littler Mendelson attorneys, got a judge to issue an injunction against the nurses strike, thus leaving the chronic staffing problems unaddressed; and

WHEREAS, anti-strike injunctions were a prevalent union-busting strategy 100 years ago, with courts issuing more than 4300 anti-strike injunctions in the United States between 1875 and 1930; and

WHEREAS, anti-strike injunctions were largely eliminated in the private sector in 1932 by the passage of the Norris-LaGuardia Anti-Injunction Act; and

WHEREAS, anti-strike injunctions are now repeatedly being used by the University of California against their workers; and

WHEREAS, California faces an unprecedented crisis in higher education due to inadequate funding and insufficient oversight; and

WHEREAS, since 2001, the University of California has raised student fees by 50 percent, making the institution essentially out of reach for students from working families; and

WHEREAS, workers in the UC system are facing lay-offs, pay cuts and furloughs, with some full-time workers earning as little as $12.50 per hour and facing pay reductions of up to 20 percent; and

WHEREAS, even in the face of these deep cuts to workers and steep fee increases for students, UC executives earning more than $214,000 in total compensation rose 6.3 percent in the last year, to over 3,100 senior managers; and

WHEREAS, UC has operated in a black box, disclosing only limited information about its finances, even to the Legislature that provides their funding. This level of secrecy has allowed top executives to become increasingly out of touch and unaccountable; and

WHEREAS, the need for increased transparency led the Coalition of UC Unions and the California Labor Federation to pursue a Joint Legislative Audit of the UC’s finances; and

WHEREAS, one area of UC spending we have identified is the hiring of notorious union-buster Littler Mendelson to handle labor relations. UC has acknowledged paying at least $3.5 million in fees to Littler Mendelson at a rate of $500 per hour; and

WHEREAS, Littler Mendelson was cited as the architect of numerous anti-union employer campaigns in the recent Cornell University study on the role of anti-union consultants entitled No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing; and

WHEREAS, Littler Mendelson represented the University of California in a retaliatory action against their own workers for standing up for their rights and engaging in informational leafleting. Littler Mendelson has also engaged the University of California in a campaign to undermine the right to strike by pursuing strike preparation damages against the workers in several different bargaining units; and

WHEREAS, with Littler Mendelson at the wheel, the University has been slapped with numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges including a significant finding against the University for bargaining in bad faith; and

WHEREAS, in this budget climate, for a public institution to use public funds to pay anti-union consultants is inappropriate and offensive;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the California Labor Federation calls on the UC to release all financial information related to the hiring of anti-union consultants.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Labor Federation calls on the UC to immediately halt the employment of union-busting consultants and redirect those funds toward student needs.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Labor Federation calls on the UC to stop all attempts to undermine the fundamental right of UC workers to strike.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Labor Federation calls on the UC to withdraw its petitions for strike preparation damages, which have never been awarded in California, severely undermine collective bargaining laws in California, and merely serve to create a chilling effect on university employees.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the California Labor Federation calls on the UC to bargain in good faith with all university employees.

Passed by the delegates to the 28th Biennial Convention on July 13, 2010.