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UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Update #27 September 15 Zoom

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UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Session #27

September 15, 2020

Zoom

 

UC-AFT Gives Report on Reemployment Preferences at CSU and CCC

At the opening of bargaining, our team presented a report on reemployment rights of part-time, adjunct and lecturer faculty at California Community Colleges and the California State University campuses. The report showed that our proposals for job stability for pre-continuing faculty are in line with industry standards at other institutions of higher education in California. Unfortunately, our current contract language lags far behind these standards. Our members once again made it clear at the beginning of this bargaining session that we will not accept a new contract until it has meaningful job stability for pre-continuing teaching faculty.

UC Management Caucuses then Passes Article 8 Instructional Support

After our presentation of reemployment standards, UC requested a ten minute caucus. They returned thirty minutes later with a proposal on Article 8 Instructional Support that would differentiate instructional support between continuing and pre-continuing faculty by granting more support to continuing appointees. When asked why UC management would divide the unit this way, Nadine Fishel, UC’s Chief Negotiator said, “We do have a different commitment to continuing appointees. I know that’s not something you want to hear.” A quick reminder: since 2004, only 8% of lecturers hired have become continuing appointees.

In the discussion that followed, one thing became abundantly clear...providing job stability for pre-continuing lecturers would reduce administrative work for staff and senate faculty and would resolve many of the worst working conditions lecturers experience. We passed our most recent proposal on job stability, Article 7A Pre-Continuing Appointment and Reappointment, on August 25. We are still waiting for management to provide a counter proposal.

Several members of our bargaining team and member observers drove home the point that many of the supposed barriers that the University cites for providing instructional support to pre-continuing faculty would actually be addressed by providing consistent and transparent reappointment reviews, rehire rights and multi-year appointments.

Paula Saravia, a lecturer in Global Health at UCSD, shared her recent story of the University's failure to provide instructional support and the consequences for students, staff and teaching faculty.
 

“When I came back to teach, I couldn't communicate with my students, upload my course materials or do any course prep that relied on University resources because they hadn't "put me in the system" before instruction began. I had my appointment letter three months before, so it wasn't about being hired late. I had to ask my MSO and other staff in the program for help, which is burdensome for them. It’s overwhelming for everyone when this critical instructional support is not taken seriously by the University. It’s not a big ask and it will help us and it helps the students. In the end, our students don’t understand that it’s not our fault when we are not prepared when the term begins. This shows up in our evaluations. It’s a vicious cycle. The University is asking us to be excellent teachers, but they are not giving us the proper tools to do it and then they punish us for it.”

 

Alison Lipman, a UC-AFT Table Team member from UCLA, affirmed Paula’s comment, “That has also happened to me multiple times. I’ve received late appointment letters, but even when they are on time, I’ve been told my access to the library and platforms wouldn’t begin until the beginning of the quarter. I couldn’t prepare well enough because I did not have library resources.”

In addition to attempting to divide our members along appointment type, management’s proposal refuses to actually commit to providing instructional support by qualifying most commitments with the word “may” rather than “shall.” They claim that the University doesn’t have enough space to give teaching faculty decent, though shared offices. One of our bargaining team members has an office in their department’s communal fax room. They claim it’s too much work to include pre-continuing faculty on department websites and too burdensome to set us up with library privileges and online platform access before the term begins.

It’s true. The constant churn of hiring and firing new employees is enormously inefficient and creates unnecessary extra work for everyone. This is why we have committed to our fight for job stability. When we win job stability, we will also win real commitments for instructional support because UC admin will have acknowledged that teaching faculty are worthy of support and investment.

Yes, a Pandemic Qualifies as a Health and Safety Emergency

After our lengthy discussion of Instructional Support, UC-AFT passed our proposal for a new article on Health, Safety and Emergency Procedures. UC management has recently tried to exclude public health crises such as COVID-19 from the definition of “emergency” in this article.

In response, our proposal adds a clause that defines emergencies as events that prevent us from getting to campus, or that make it unsafe to be on campus. We would also maintain the right not to come to campus when an emergency has been declared by the University or local authorities.

We proposed the right to serve on emergency planning committees and to be compensated for this service. Our proposal would establish the right to alternative work arrangements in consultation with supervisors during any emergency, as well as prohibit reduction in appointment and compensation as a result of an emergency.

 

Post emergency, upon resumption of instruction, we are maintaining our position that teaching faculty should be consulted on an individual basis, prior to return to campus, and taking into account child care, commuting distance, health considerations and other individual circumstances.