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UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Session #15 UC Riverside


UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Session #15

March 6, 2020

UC Riverside


Here to Bargain despite UC Admin’s Shenanigans

Thousands of teaching faculty in our bargaining unit have been working for more than a month without a contract. As our volunteer bargaining team and a large contingent of student allies were settling into the designated bargaining room on Friday morning, the UC’s negotiators tried to move the session to an off-campus location because, in their words, the on-campus location was “disruptive.”


However, our team held firm on keeping our bargaining sessions accessible to our members. The UC’s negotiators finally caved and showed up three hours late at 1 PM. When the session started, UC chief negotiator Nadine Fishel kicked out a student reporter, which UC-AFT President Mia McIver noted our team had not agreed to. More than 30 lecturers, graduate students, and undergraduate students were able to stay in the room and observe bargaining.

While there are many perspectives on the #COLA4ALL movement among our union’s members, almost everyone agrees that UC admin has the power to constructively resolve the situation and put students’ needs first. McIver pressed Fishel on UC admin’s refusal to bargain with UC-AFT over increased lecturer workloads that have resulted from the COLA strike:

“We, as individuals and as a union, stand in complete solidarity with UAW 2865 and the COLA strikers. Our work is very closely linked. When you put us together we are the frontline educators of the UC, teaching more than half of undergraduate credit hours. We are all together precarious and contingent education workers. Part of our bargaining campaign is closely aligned with the goals of #COLA4ALL, that is, to provide livable wages and dramatically increased standards of living for the graduate students and faculty who do the majority of teaching at the UC. We want to join our voice with those calling for COLA for all to demand the University’s immediate investment in its teaching mission.”

Fishel, who was also the UC’s chief negotiator for the current UAW 2865 contract, tried to shut her down by saying, “We’re not going to entertain any discussion about that at this table.” Then came the following exchange:

          MM: Because we don't live in a bubble, none of us work in a bubble, we have a set of shared working conditions.

          NF: Okay. But legally, all you can bargain for is those in your bargaining unit.

          MM: We can and will continue to put proposals on the table that serve the common good even if they are not directed
                  at our bargaining unit.

         NF: And we may or may not engage.

         MM: We think it’s in the University’s interest to engage and it is in the interest of all of us in our UC communities
                  that the University really engage.

We will continue to call for UCOP’s engagement on issues that directly affect educational access, quality, and equity. Thanks to our persistence, UC admin’s March 6th proposals on Article 12--Leaves of Absence and Article 23--Summer Sessions demonstrated a small step forward in their level of engagement. Our bargaining team passed a comprehensive and compelling Article 21--Compensation proposal.

UC-AFT Passes Compensation Proposal

In order to bring lecturer salaries in line with middle class salaries in California, our team proposes:

  • Increasing the minimum salary from $56,381 to $73,564 by July 1, 2023.

  • COLAs of approximately 24% over four years, comparable to what other UC unions have recently won.

  • A salary augmentation for Unit 18 faculty whom UC admin excludes from both the UC Retirement Plan and Social Security (i.e., pay in lieu of retirement benefits).

  • Funding Unit 18 teaching faculty payroll from a more stable and reliable source than the temporary budget, which is the current practice.

UC Admin Offers Limited Concessions on Leaves and Summer Sessions

While the UC team passed six articles, most contained only minor tweaks to current contract language to bring the agreement in line with new laws such as the California Family Rights Act. Their proposals did not acknowledge or respond to most of the demands made by our team in previously passed proposals. However, the University did make two important, but limited, concessions.

  • Article 12 Leaves. Our organizing around UC Irvine Lecturer Andrew Tonkovitch worked! UC admin is proposing that Unit 18 faculty with appointment percentages of 66% or higher will be eligible for paid medical leave. This is an improvement over the current rules, which require a full-time 100% appointment, but it’s short of our proposal that every teaching faculty member should have access to paid leave in the event of catastrophic illness or injury. UC admin flatly rejected our team’s proposal for fully paid pregnancy and parental bonding leave and paid academic leave to permit work on major scholarly and professional projects.

  • Article 23 Summer Sessions. Under several restrictive conditions, UC admin agrees with us that Unit 18 faculty teaching a summer course should get a quarter or semester credit count toward continuing appointment eligibility. Now that they have accepted our concept, we will bargain over the conditions to make them more widely applicable. Also, following our successful fight for summer session retirement benefits that UCOP tried to deprive us of in 2017, UC is now agreeing to make Unit 18 faculty eligible for the employer-matched summer session retirement benefit on the same terms as Senate faculty. This is a true win for #FacultyEquity! While these are steps in the right direction, our team feels there is much more work to be done with respect to summer sessions. Notably, one of our priorities is equal pay for the same class taught during summer session and the academic year.

Before this session, the UC negotiators were not moving toward many of our proposals, so our campaign is having an definite effect. As we continue to bargain, we need members (you!) to keep the pressure on to show the UC that our collective commitment to faculty equity and student success is unwavering. Click here for a quick and easy way to show your support for our compensation proposal.

March 6 Bargaining Update
Author: Crystal Chang Cohen, UC Berkeley (