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Librarian Letter to UL's


After fifteen negotiation sessions over nearly one year, UC’s negotiating team has failed to move on key issues related to the professional, academic status held by librarians at UC. Our solutions are simple, reasonable, and essential to our ability to perform our work.

Professional Development Funding
Every represented librarian needs dedicated and reliable annual professional development funding, which is a requirement for advancement in the series. Support should reflect the actual costs of staying current in and contributing to our fields. UC’s proposal does not address these concerns. The current professional development funding model is inadequate, outdated, and inequitable in that it does not guarantee development opportunities to every librarian. Many University Librarians have consistently shown they care about this issue by supplementing librarian professional development funding from library budgets. The amount of available base-level funding needs to be raised for everyone.

Temporary Librarians
Most campuses do not abuse the use of temporary appointments. UCLA Library Special Collections does and it is unacceptable. UCLA has earned a bad reputation through their hiring practices, which may have a spillover effect to other campuses. The contract must be improved to clearly support UC’s commitment to the rational use of temporary employees and to require permanent positions when there is ongoing work.

Flexible Work and an Enforceable Contract
As dedicated academic professionals and exempt employees, librarians do their best work for the library and our patrons when we can utilize flexible work arrangements that allow us to maximize our effectiveness, without arbitrary and capricious denials by supervisors. While many supervisors understand the benefits to both the work/life balance of hard-working librarians and the strategic goals of each library, flexible arrangements are not uniformly available to all librarians. To enhance recruitment and retention, a fair process must be guaranteed for appealing decisions on this issue. It is a vital component of work life in these times.

Holiday Closures
Alternative work arrangements must extend to holiday closures. Our professional, academic status is undermined by any abridgement of discretion in whether, where, and how we perform work during holiday closures. Non-holiday days during holiday closures, intersession, or other academic recesses are not holidays for librarians; deadlines always loom and the work continues. We need our leadership to acknowledge and respect this.

Transfer and Reassignment
When the library is considering a transfer or reassignment, librarians deserve at least ten days’ notice about their new position before the reassignment occurs in order to prepare. Providing a “draft” job description, with a final job description not required until 10 days’ AFTER the reassignment, demeans both the librarian and the work they are being asked to assume. Reasonable notice of a change that can have tremendous impact upon library workflow, and individual librarian career goals, is all we are asking.

The UC-AFT Unit 17 Bargaining Team made straightforward proposals many months ago to address all of these issues. We the undersigned stand behind them as sound, rational, cost-effective, and beneficial to both librarians and managers. UC librarians have been working without a contract for over five months. We need real movement at the table right now, and encourage you to apply pressure on UC negotiators to close this deal.