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Bargaining Update #9 August 4, 21-22 and September 3-4


Bargaining Update—Covering August and September

I.   At the start of August, we had one meeting with the UC in Oakland, followed by a meeting of UC-AFT’s Lecturer Bargaining Committee.

August 3rd in the University’s Oakland offices, we discussed 7a—NSF Appointments, the article that established the ground rules for Lecturer appointments, reappointments, and contracts. We pushed on the idea of reducing the number of years to continuing status for every Lecturer from 6 years to 4 year, we also pushed for earlier notice of appointments, clear notice of the possibility of subsequent appointments, and improved mentoring and career development, including a type of merit or performance review in the third year of teaching.

The University was completely resistant to changing the timing of the excellence review from the sixth year to the fourth year. It also pushed hard against the ideas of better notice of appointments, hiring practices, review procedures, and any kind of stable contract provisions. On the other hand, it was less resistant to making changes that would stop the comical practice of making some term appointment Lecturers wait for their excellence review until their 12th or 15th year of teaching.

The very next day, the Union held an internal meeting to determine what things we want to see in the contract to settle in October, which is when our current contract expires. Here is the list that the bargaining committee came up with:

Retirement Benefits

  • Social Security for lecturers working less than 50%
  • Employer contribution to Safe Harbor for all lecturers, including NSF working less than 50%
  • If we accept the 401(k), then: 
    • flexibility to move into pension fund when vested 
    • Me too clause with Senate Faculty guaranteeing whatever pension deal they get 


  • Make workload grievances subject to arbitration
  • Solve the 8 course maximum problem in Writing and Foreign Languages at UCSB.  WP lecturers and some language instructors at UCSB currently teach 8 courses and do a bunch of assigned/expected committee work.

Stabilize Pre-Continuing Appointments

  • Shorten time to Continuing
  • Automatic "careful consideration" for reappointment after one year rather than "lecturer may reapply"
  • 3rd year merit review with guidelines and criteria
  • One contract between 3rd year merit review and continuing appointment (i.e. two year appointment if continuing in 5th year)
  • Consolidate quarter counts for time served on other campuses or teaching similar courses in different departments
  • Continuing appointment after 9 years no matter what the quarter count
  • Student evals count for no more than 30% of reviews
  • Arbitration for churning cases including reinstatement and backpay remedies

I have a few comments about this list. First, there are some vital things we did not discuss, but that we also really need to see. The first of these is an improvement in contract enforcement, which means Grievance and Arbitration. The second is realizing the right of our Union to use arbitration to enforce the UC’s proper use of title codes. See the following update for more information.

Second, this list is big, and some of the ideas are redundant, so it should not be read as an exact checklist. We’re looking for the intent of these demands.

Finally, if we want these, we need to get active NOW. Go ask your local leadership when the next organizing activities are taking place, and find out how you can help force the UC to accept our very reasonable contract demands.

On August 20 and 21, we had another negotiating session in Irvine. On the first day, we worked on Article 4—Non-Discrimination in Employment, Article 8—Instructional Support, Article 9—Professional Concerns, Meetings, and Programs, Article 18—Resignation, Article 20—Reasonable Accommodation, and Article 23—Summer Session. We have followed up on these Articles since then. Here is where they stand.

We are very close to agreement on 8 and 9. We have some good gains from these articles, notably clearer protection for the copyrights of our class materials and guidelines for the UC to list us in directories and as teachers of classes in online class schedules.

We have reached a Tentative Agreement on Article 4. There are three things to know about this. First it now incorporates the language about sexual harassment that used to be in Article 31—Sexual Harassment. Article 31 will be deleted. Second, the Article now outlines a process whereby grievances about discrimination or harassment will go through the campus Title IX offices for investigation. This puts the grievance on hold while people who are experts in these cases reach a finding of fact. Third, Lecturers can pursue claims of discrimination and harassment through other avenues in the University, by going through the Title IX Office. The timelines for filing discrimination complaints of all kinds are much longer than the grievance timelines. Your local grievance steward and union representative can also help you file complaints through the UC’s process.

We reached TAs on Articles 18 and 20. In 18, we beat back a draconian provision that would have allowed the UC to start termination proceedings if a Lecturer didn’t check in every week. The parties agreed to Current Contract Language (CCL). In 20, the UC updated the language to reflect 21st Century ideas about disability. This article is much improved. By the way, it used to be titled “rehabilitation,” as if the differently abled just needed to be fixed somehow. Credit goes to the UC for proposing a change in title, as well as improving the process of negotiating accommodation for medical conditions of all kinds.

Article 23—Summer Session, is still very problematic. The issue, as you can imagine, is money. The UC’s summer pay is much less than normal pay.  We've proposed that summer pay should equivalent to the per course pay during the academic year.  The University has strongly resisted this.

On the 22nd, we discussed Grievance and Arbitration, Article 32 and 33. The UC has adopted an annoying habit of demanding to have an arbitration on whether we can arbitrate a grievance. This is slowing down our contract enforcement process and interfering with the way we pursue grievances. So, we are looking at language that would explicitly sanction changes to the grievances as we learn more information, in exchange for changing the time to file a grievance. Currently, we have 45 days to file, but only 15 days after termination of employment. To get the ability to amend, we might accept 30 days to file in all cases.

We also discussed bringing recalled retirees into our unit. Currently, if a covered Lecturer retires, and is brought back to teach part time, he or she is not in our Union. We have drafted language to cover the recalled retirees in our unit. The UC is looking at that.

Finally, we proposed raises of 5% per year for the life of the contract. The UC hasn’t countered yet, but I suspect they’ll offer much less than that.

In early September, we met in Santa Barbara for the first time. There, we continued work on 7a—NSF Appointments. The UC’s proposals were not encouraging. We really need to keep fighting for improved job conditions for pre-continuing Lecturers.

We also continued discussions of Summer Session and Grievance and Arbitration. As I’ve discussed the issues already, there isn’t much more to say. The next update will cover the bargaining session at UCLA, September 21-22.

Finally, if we want these, we need to get active NOW. Go ask your local leadership when the next organizing activities are taking place, and find out how you can help force the UC to accept our very reasonable contract demands.


Ben Harder