Welcome back!  We’re writing as the new academic year begins with a few important updates.

First we want to welcome the hundreds of new ASEs who have just signed up to accept union membership this past week in their orientations, and also thank the numerous activists (some returning, some new) who helped give over 100 presentations about our contract in the past few days.  Our membership remains as strong as ever, and many new and returning ASEs have expressed willingness to get involved and help make the union stronger.  Following on the momentum of last year’s contract campaign, this year it will be critical to remain active and vocal as the University seeks to mitigate continuing budget pressures

Second, we want to speak to the appearance of the Student Facilities Renovation (SFR) and Universal U-Pass fees on our Fall quarter tuition/fee statements.  Per an arbitration decision in May 2012, this once again violates the collective bargaining agreement (read here for more information about this).

The University has communicated to us that they may challenge the arbitrator’s decision in court, resulting in further and potentially extensive delays.  In an effort to avoid this we’ve been in discussions with them to expedite implementation of the decision; we also have mutually agreed to extend the arbitrator’s jurisdiction while these discussions continue.  But the bottom line is that the financial hardship presented by these fees is significant, and the University’s decision to delay implementation of the arbitrator’s award is unacceptable.  At our October membership meeting  we will discuss this matter – including our response to any actions by the University – in great detail.  In the meantime we also are happy to meet, talk on the phone, or discuss the issue with groups of union members in your department.

With the academic quarter now in session, we will stay in regular communication about the status of these conversations with the University.  As always, we appreciate your strong support and engagement with this process.