Twitter icon
Facebook icon
RSS icon
YouTube icon


Librarian (Unit 17) Bargaining Update #2


The Librarian Negotiating Team met with the University representatives at the Office of the President in Oakland on Friday, May 18, 2012. The discussions were cordial and productive, but because of the uncertainty of the State budget we have not really entered into concrete discussions of compensation issues including professional development funding. We are close to agreeing on ground rules. Usually those are the first topic of bargaining, but things seemed so cordial that nobody thought about ground rules until this session.

We have reached tentative agreement on some rather minor articles. In each case, the issue was either already covered in State law or through other provisions in the existing Memorandum of Understanding (contract). An example would be our agreement on how per diem rules and rates are established for University-related travel. We agreed that as long as Librarians get the same process and rates as Senate Faculty for per diem, we will not need other provisions related to this issue in our MOU. Other items of agreement were basically “clean up” language and they are about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Miki Goral, from UCLA, and our Chief Negotiator Emerita, is currently working on a new article that will integrate Articles 4, 5, and 6 in a more organized fashion. These are the articles that deal with the academic review process, procedures, and criteria for advancement. These articles include redundancy and other problems with respect to clarity of organization because some were bargained over time and others were incorporated into our MOU wholesale when we included some sections of the Academic Personnel Manual (APM) into our MOU so that all of the relevant procedures and criteria would be located in one document. 

Although we believe that most of what we need with respect to the process, procedures, and criteria for advancement already exist in either Articles 4, 5, or 6, we will also be seeking clearer language about the rights of Unit 17 Librarians in the academic review process. We also will be seeking more consistency across campuses in how the review process works on different campuses.  At the bargaining table, we talked generally about our goals for the changes in Articles 4,5, and 6 and there were no negative or energetic responses from the University team.

Some of the issues that have arisen about the academic review process for librarians are best resolved by filing grievances. We often have good existing language that prohibits some of the abuses we have had reported and getting stronger language or better provisions in the MOU is not really necessary or as helpful as working to enforce our existing MOU.

At our next negotiating session, which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, we will be continuing our discussion of Article 1, the Recognition Article that deals with which Librarians are in and/or out of Unit 17. As you know, the problems with the low pay scale have resulted, among other problems, in the University taking people out of the unit so they can give them “management stipends.” Both the UC-AFT and the University Administration know that ultimately the Public Employees Relation Board (PERB) makes the final decisions when there are conflicts about which employees are in or out of any given unit. PERB has a “check list” for the things they consider when making unit designations, both parties and it appears that the UC Administration is probably making inappropriate requests to move Librarians out of Unit 17. Also, there is no consistency across campuses with respect to unit designation for library employees.

As a result, the two parties are trying to see if we can come up with general agreements on what defines supervisory or management duties that actually require individuals to leave the unit and what does not. If we can reach some common ground, both parties will be saved a great deal of money and time, because the PERB review process is lengthy and costly. Our plan is to examine each of the existing “management positions” throughout the UC libraries and determine if they meet the PERB guidelines for exclusion from the Unit, and, if not, to return them (and their dues or fair share payment) to Unit 17. We expect some extensive discussion of this issue at the next negotiating session.

On June 12, the University is also expected to present some new language on grievances, which they have represented as aimed at shortening some time lines in the grievance process to make the process easier and speedier for participants on both sides. We’ll see if their actual proposals are as reasonable and neutral in impact as they have suggested.

Finally, at the next session we will continue our discussion of how we will approach compensation issues. We are not willing to wait until November to talk about the money issues. UC Librarians still lag far behind CSU and most community college Librarians in compensation and it is urgent that we address this issue.

Peter Chester, the Chief Negotiator for the University for Unit 17 (and 18) has recently been appointed Acting Director of Labor Relations at UCOP, so there is now one less level of bureaucracy between the bargaining teams and top UC management. Despite the dreadful budget picture for UC (and the bad UC Administration priorities that make matters worse, informal discussions with UC officials suggest that money could be made available for additional Unit 17 compensation. As outlined in an earlier update, we do expect that significant increases in compensation may take a multi-year agreement to close the large gap between UC and its in-state labor market competition.

As you know, any financial arrangements that result from our bargaining ultimately will need support from UCOP and from the University Librarians (ULs). As in the past, I am almost certain that getting that support will depend upon a well-coordinated effort including creative and tough bargaining by the UC-AFT Librarian Negotiating Team, but, more importantly, strong support from the Librarians on the campuses.

We will be planning for a Librarian Bargaining Committee conference call at noon on Friday, June 8. Invited to the call will be members of the Bargaining Committee and our campus Field Reps. More details on the agenda and contact information for the call will be sent out several days before the call to the participants.

Just to up-date you on the Negotiating Team membership:  Harrison Decker (UCB), Ken Lyons (UCSC), Lise Snyder (UCLA), Axel Borg (UCD and Deputy Chief Negotiator), Mitchell Brown (UCI and also Chair of LAUC), Miki Goral (Chief Negotiator Emerita), María Elena Cortez (UC-AFT Executive Director), and me as Chief Negotiator.  In my next update (so this won’t be too long), I will include contact information for the entire Librarian Bargaining Team (up to two reps per campus), so you can contact your Committee member(s) with any concerns.  In the meantime, you may feel free to contact me with any concerns about Librarian bargaining:

Mike Rotkin, 831-345-8469