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Bargaining Update #6: June 11-12 and 17-18


Summer Time, but the Livin’ ain’t Easy

June 11-12 – Article 17 Layoff, Article 23 Summer Sessions, Article 9 Professional Concerns

While the folks on semester campuses were settling into their vacations, those of us on quarter campuses were fighting through the end of the Spring Quarter. In addition, we bargained with the University during Finals Week and the week after that (June 11-12 in Irvine and June 17-18 in San Diego).

On June 11, about 30 lecturers and a few grad student supporters held a protest outside bargaining and then entered the negotiating room to read a statement to UCI’s bargaining team. The issues at the heart of the protest are directly connected to the stability we are fighting for for pre-continuing lecturers.  Watch a short video of the action.

After our members left the building, we spent the remainder of the day on Article 17 Layoff. We are working with the UC to reorganized and clarify the article, which is a good thing. However, we are also trying to increase layoff notice in cases where people lose more than one or two classes.  We want to keep a penalty for late notice for pre-continuing lecturers, and we are trying to clarify language in cases when the Departments solicit lecturers to voluntarily reduce their time or separate from the University as a way to avoid actual layoffs.

On Friday, the 12th, we discussed summer session. The UC provided a counter proposal to our proposal. Here we have two big issues. First, we want to increase the rate of pay for those teaching summer session. Currently, Lecturers get paid less, sometimes significantly less, during the summer than they get for the same class during the academic year. Second, we want to reduce or eliminate the practice of paying Lecturers even less for low-enrollment classes over the summer. We think Summer Session has become a cash cow for the UC, and if that must happen, then Lecturers should get some of the profits.

We also presented Article 9—Professional Concerns. In this article, we are trying to increase professional development funding. More important, we are strengthening  Lecturers’ intellectual property rights by clarifying that we are “originators” of teaching materials and scholarly or aesthetic productions that we create or help to create, even if we work with Senate Faculty.

June 17-18 - Article 23 Summer Sessions, Article 24 Instructional Workload, Article 22 Grievance and Article 23 Arbitration

The next week, in San Diego, the negotiations shifted into full bargaining mode, after the opening meetings. By now, both parties have broad understanding about what is under discussion in all of the major articles, and the topics of all of the minor articles have been opened.

On Wednesday, the 17th of June, we presented another counter about Summer Session, trying to simplify the salary proposal. The UC still seems uninterested in paying more for summer session classes.

The UC gave us a proposal about instructional workload. They are resisting the idea that eight classes by themselves constitute full time for people teaching writing courses.

On Thursday the 18th, we discussed grievance and arbitration. Our goal in these articles is to extend various filing deadlines, and also work with the University to modernize the communications. For example, we agreed to do away with faxes and encourage email.  The University has serious concerns about extending filing deadlines, so we’ll have more discussions.

Next Session July 6-7- Article 11 Benefits

The next session, on July 6-7, will be key for one reason: the UC’s team will include someone from the retirement benefits office to discuss their beginning plans for yet another pension tier, to begin July 1, 2016. This new tier results from the deal President Napolitano struck with Governor Brown. As far as we now know, Brown’s only pension demand is that the amount of income that can be used to calculate new employee’s defined benefit pension is capped at the same income level that Social Security-eligible income is capped (currently $117,500).

In addition, the UC seems to want to let employees opt out of the pension altogether, and take a 403(b) equivalent, with some sort of employer contribution.  This is potentially dangerous for the current pension fund. If new employees opt for the 403(b) equivalent, then the contributions that would have funded existing retirees goes missing, and the plan can descend into a “death spiral,” as more employees opt for the seemingly safer defined contribution plan.

We very much need to see what is going on so we know how to respond. Look for a bargaining update by July 10; we’ll share what we know.