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Bargaining Update #10 UCLA September 21-22


As everyone else on the quarter system was attending start-of-the-year department meetings and finalizing their syllabi, the negotiating team was meeting with UC’s team in UCLA. At this session, we continued our efforts to settle the less important pieces of our contract so that we can concentrate on our core goals: 1) access to retirement benefits (at least Social Security) for ALL Lecturers, and 2) stability for pre-continuing Lecturers. That means, by the way, reduced time to continuing, better hiring and reappointment processes, and fair management and mentoring for new scholars as they begin their careers at UC, or teach at UC while they find the institution that will launch their careers.

(Has any other Union ever had to negotiate that management should actually manage?)

We addressed Article 4—Non-Discrimination in Employment, Article 8—Instructional Support, and Article 22—Merit Review Process; and the UC presented some ideas on Article 5—Unit Definition and Article 32—Grievance Procedure.

Comic highlights included management’s claim that some departments cannot post accurate lists of their lecturers online because . . . wait for it . . . since there is so much turnover, the website managers cannot keep up with the changes.

Yes, you read that right: they just told us in bargaining that their exploitative hiring practices prevent them from the simple, basic task of letting students know who their instructors are, and where they can be found.

Perhaps those departments are trying to hide their desire to employ precarious, exploited faculty. I suppose they think that if we cannot see injustice, we cannot fight it.

In contrast, the parties have succeeded in updating  Article 4—Non-Discrimination in Employment and Article 20—Reasonable Accommodation (for Disability) to conform to current law. These are important articles for everyone, and it is a success for both parties that all the legal protections employees should enjoy are codified in our contract. As a side note, the content of Article 31—Sexual Harassment has been incorporated into the Non-Discrimination article, but those protections remain as well.

There were tough moments, of course. In addition to all of our other clear goals, we continued working through technical issues of contract enforcement, grievances, and arbitration. Here is one specific problem: PERB, the state authority that governs public employees’ relations with the State of California, has told us (and the UC) that it will no longer rule on certain disputes, and that we should settle them through arbitration. Unfortunately, UC refuses to allow a change in the language so we can settle those disputes in arbitration. They are basically saying that they think the law is wrong, and they refuse to follow it.  At times I cannot imagine how we can settle a contract with a lawless counterparty.

In the meantime, the October 31st deadline for our contract is fast approaching. You should contact your local leadership (you’ll find their names on our website) and ask how you can help demonstrate to the UC what we won’t settle for Lecturer invisibility and management lawlessness. I’m sure each campus will provide you with the means to make your voice heard, even if you aren’t listed in the schedule of classes.