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Dozens of Lecturer Layoffs Rescinded Across the System


Beginning in 2009, lecturer positions throughout the UC system have been targeted by campus administrators as easy cost saving measures.  Since Spring quarter 2009, UC-AFT’s Unit 18 has decreased in size by 11%.  Nearly all of this reduction came from pre-six job titles that do not require layoff notice.  These positions are simply not renewed.  In addition to the pre-six non-renewals, layoff notices have been issued to hundreds of continuing appointees throughout the system.  Many of these notices are reductions in time, but dozens are full layoffs.

Some campuses, notably UCLA and UCI, issued blanket layoffs to all continuing appointees in certain divisions.  At UCLA, 67 lecturers in the College of Letters and Sciences received notice of full layoff.  At UCI, over 40 continuing appointees in social sciences and biological sciences received notices.  In these cases of mass layoff, the campuses didn’t have clear plans for how they would meet student demand for courses, and the layoffs were not based on departmental budgets.  At UCR, 8 continuing lecturers in Writing Program were given layoff notice, but in this case the administration was trying meet an actual budget.

One year later, all but one of the 67 layoffs in L&S at UCLA have been rescinded.  At the time of this writing, UCI has indicated that some portion of the layoffs there will also be rescinded.  At UC Riverside, the eight layoffs in Writing Program are in the process of being rescinded. The UCR administration has decided that student demand for writing courses needs to be met.

At UCLA, a lot of collective action resulted in getting these layoffs rescinded.  In many departments 100% of the lecturers were given layoff notices.  This meant that there would be no one to teach French, Spanish, Asian or Near Eastern languages, or Communications.  The entire Writing Programs was laid off.  In these departments where all the lecturers were affected, they were able to organize internally and get staff and students to rally in support of their programs.  According to Bob Samuels, “It took a lot of activism on the part of lecturers, workers, and students to defend our jobs and undergraduate instruction at UCLA."   Many students and faculty wrote op-eds, spoke to the media, and participated in on-campus rallies and events.

In addition to actively participating in UCLA's campus wide UCLA Fights Back Coalition, UC-AFT filed several grievances related to the layoffs.  The union filed a grievance asserting that the large scale layoffs were "arbitrary and capricious."  On the morning of May 12, UC-AFT Executive Director, Karen Sawislak, submitted an appeal to arbitration for the grievance.  The UCLA and UCR rescissions occurred on the same day. UC-AFT is now working with UCOP to develop system wide guidelines to ensure that layoffs are handled more appropriately in the future.

Many continuing appointees throughout the system still have permanent reductions in time, or notices of full layoff.  We anticipate a significant reduction in continuing appointment FTE in the fall of 2010.  UC-AFT is committed to continuing our efforts to preserve the jobs of our members and the quality of instruction at UC.   If you have any questions about your layoff or reduction in time, please contact your local field representative.

This article was contributed to by UCLA Field Representative, Maria Elena Cortez.