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Message from UC-AFT president Mia McIver re: Janus Case

Fight for the university--and union--you want to belong to

Dear UC-AFT Faculty and Librarians,


Today the Supreme Court accepted an invitation from a group of billionaires to dismantle the public sector in the United States by defunding public employee unions like ours.  In their decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the majority overturned the law that has governed union dues for public servants for more than 40 years.


In doing so, they are attempting to limit our voice, the same voice that we use to teach and conduct research, the same voice that we use to advocate for our university and our students.  Their goal is to strip us of power by discouraging union membership.


They would love to return to the bad old days at the UC before we were unionized.  At that time, UC admin held all the power.  Raises were hard to come by, lecturers were kicked out after a few years, there were no limits on workload, lecturers had no offices, librarians had no control over their reviews, and nobody was guaranteed professional development funding.


Since we've had a union, we've been able to determine our own roles at the UC.  We've received regular raises that far outstrip inflation, we've won job security for lecturers through Continuing Appointments, we've negotiated fair workloads, lecturers are guaranteed office space and other instructional support, librarians get to control the work on which they will be reviewed, and professional development funding is contractually guaranteed.  These are only a few of our many victories over the years that have improved our working conditions and thereby safeguarded the quality of education and research at the UC.


In the wake of the Janus decision, you can expect to see messages--commercials, billboards, even messages from UC admin--trying to convince you that it will be cheaper for you not to be a union member.  This is specious marketing.  Without our union, it won't take long for UC executives and lawyers to erode all we've built. We only have the power to make positive change when we stand together as members.


The Janus backers are betting that they can divide and conquer.  What they don't understand is that our power comes from people, not money.  There is no abstract union out there without you.  You are your union!


With librarian bargaining in full swing and non-tenured faculty bargaining set to launch in the fall, we have ambitious goals for improving the university and our jobs.  Each of us has a part to play in our democratic, member-led union. Now is the time to take a stand and stand together.  If you haven't already, join UC-AFT as a member today. Our future depends on you.


In solidarity,



Mia L. McIver, Ph.D.

Lecturer, UCLA Writing Programs

President, UC-AFT