Twitter icon
Facebook icon
RSS icon
YouTube icon


Bargaining Update #2 March 25-26, 2015


Last week we met with the UC for the second two-day session. On our side of the table were Bill Corman, our attorney, and team members from Merced, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and Riverside. In addition, our first visitors, members from the Merced campus, joined us.

Wednesday, we discussed Articles 3—Academic Responsibility and 4—Non-Discrimination in Employment. For the most part, these are uncontroversial; both sides want to update the language that protects people on campus from illegal and prejudiced harassment or discrimination. In Article 3, those rules apply to us—they set out categories of people against whom we should not discriminate. In Article 4, those rules protect us.

The first point of contention was that we want to extend the timelines for grieving discrimination from the current 45 days to a more reasonable 90 days. The UC wants the short timeline for grieving to apply, and it would prefer that Lecturers use its internal Title 9 and discrimination grievance offices, or through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or California’s Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) in cases alleging anti-union retaliation.

The second point of contention was that we added a sentence in Article 3 affirming that lecturers should get the same respect that we are required to provide to others. The UC had a problem with this because it feared waves of grievances, because academics “don’t need” these protections, and because the language is vague enough to be very difficult to actually enforce through grievances. They have a point on this last issue. So, we need to look for specific practices that harm lecturers (and not only our pride) and fix those practices.

On Thursday, we discussed our opening proposals for Article 7a. The UC had many, many questions. Some were insightful, some annoying, and some bewildering. For example, we proposed that all Lecturer hires be done through open searches in accordance with Federal fair hiring practices. The UC asked us if we were trying to circumvent EEOC regulations. I still don’t know what to say to that.

The UC was trying, however, to figure out how progressive our proposal is, and they will need some time to absorb the changes. Some campuses want to deny the simple notion that progressing to continuing status might not be accidental. They want to maintain the illusion that classes taught by lecturers are always a temporary need, so lecturer should always be temporary too. Right now it is too early to give an accurate impression of how the UC views our goals of increasing appointment stability and reducing time to continuing status.

While the UC seems put out by our proposals, they are logical and reasonable:

  • When new classes open up, we want them to first go to post-six lecturers who are not yet at a 100% appointment. Then, we want new classes to go to pre-continuing lecturers who are qualified to teach those classes. Then, we want those new classes to go to well qualified new applicants.
  • We want all lecturers, except those who are hired as emergency replacements, to go through normal academic searches that comply with EEOC regulations.
  • We want lecturers to be in annual appointments whenever possible, so that they have 12-month pay periods and benefits, and stable appointments.
  • We want letters of appointment and class assignments to be timely, so that Lecturers can adequately construct and prepare excellent classes. 
  • We want appointment letters to spell out the criteria by which the department will assess the quality of our teaching. And, we want appointment letters to acknowledge that there is in fact a Union for Lecturers, and to give new hires an opportunity to join that Union.
  • We want people to get credit towards continuing status for at least some of the time they have taught in other departments or on other campuses. 
  • We want people who teach the same class in more than one department to have all of their classes count towards continuing status in one department. 
  • We want people to have reviews before the excellence review, so they know how they are doing, so they have a charge to hone their teaching before the all important process that we hope will result in continuing appointments.
  • We want to limit departments’ ability to “churn,” which is to prevent any and all lecturers from ever getting continuing appointments.
  • We want the University to decide in three years that we are excellent instructors and give us continuing appointments in the fourth year, not the seventh.

Is that so hard?

Bargaining is still in the opening stages, and we’ll have much more to report as the process winds on. Next session, April 16 and 17, the parties will discuss our opening proposals for Article 7b—Process for Initial Continuing Appointments and Article 7c—Continuing Appointments