UPTE Asks For Sanction

UCSD technical employees have taken the first steps toward authorizing a strike.

The University Professional and Technical Employees voted to request a strike sanction from the San Diego Labor Council, the union announced last week.

After months of bargaining, the union said it still lacks a fair contract with the University of California.

³We¹re upset because our pay rates are not up to par with outside companies,² said Carolan Buckmaster, president of San Diego¹s UPTE division. ³People are leaving in droves.²

Michael Melman, employee/labor relations director at UCSD, said the problems are and should be worked out at the bargaining table.

³The university conducts negotiations in good faith with all of its labor unions,² he said. ³The university is interested in reaching settlements promptly.

Buckmaster said the high turnover of university technical employees could diminish the quality of research at UCSD.

³I don¹t see how the university can keep its status with an ever-increasing turnover of research staff,² she said. ³This is one of our major concerns.²

She added that the vote does not necessarily mean the union will strike. If the union decides to strike, she said it could take place as soon as three weeks from now.

Buckmaster said that while a strike would not affect most students, it may affect some with lab classes that require a technician.