Twitter icon
Facebook icon
RSS icon
YouTube icon


UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Update #6 UC Berkeley September 16-17


UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Session #6

September 16-17, 2019

UC Berkeley


Member testimonials energize UC-AFT observers and negotiators

Day one began with heartfelt and inspiring testimony from our members on a range of issues experienced by many UC-AFT Faculty. One member shared that the low workload value assigned to his course results in significant unpaid labor throughout the term. Another member talked about her unpaid labor over the summer, which is expected by her program as preparation for the academic year. Yet another talked about the negative impact on his teaching and on his ability to support students when his email access and library privileges are late at the beginning of the year and revoked at the end of the term.


Day two began with an impactful presentation by UCB Professor and Associate Dean Philip Stark on the shortcomings of student evaluations in measuring teaching effectiveness, on evidence that evaluations actually promote bad pedagogy, and on the various forms of bias found within typical evaluation responses.


Faculty equity...Who needs it? UC negotiators do not think we do!

When one of our team members expressed our intent to negotiate toward and on the principle of equity between tenure-track (senate) and non-tenure track (non-senate) faculty, UC’s chief negotiator replied, “We hear that that’s your agenda. We will say that we absolutely disagree that senate and non-senate faculty should have equity.” Unfortunately, this rigid and ridiculous position taken by the University’s negotiators is stalling the bargaining process in unnecessary ways.

This was obvious to one senate faculty observer at Berkeley, who told UC’s team directly during our testimonials, “As a representative of the senate faculty, when you are negotiating, it is for our sake too -- it should not be adversarial. We rely on lecturers, I benefit when my students have been taught by lecturers. The working conditions of lecturers are the working conditions of everyone on campus.”


A few choice exchanges…


Our team has come extremely well prepared to every bargaining session. Our basic bargaining principle is to root our proposals in problems we’ve identified with current contract language based on the experience of our members. Unfortunately, UC negotiators don’t seem to be very serious about making progress at the table. Here are a few choice exchanges...


Our chief negotiator, Mia McIver, read from our list of work that will count under our proposed service and professional development component that would be 20% of a UC-AFT faculty member’s appointment. We passed this proposal on July 31.

Susan Fellows (UCSC Academic Personnel Officer): So there would be something in your proposal that will describe how these things get compensated.
Mia McIver: Correct.
SF: It’s a cliffhanger. I’ll just wait.
MM: You don’t have to. We passed it six weeks ago.


In response to a comment from UC regarding non-UC students enrolled in summer sessions courses UC-AFT's Stacy Steinberg (UCSD), Matt Oliver (UCD) and Kat Lewin (UCI) question UCOP's Chief Negotiator, Nadine Fishel.

Stacy Steinberg: I want to follow up about time to continuing in the Summer Sessions article. First of all, I’d like to hear more generally about why credit to continuing for Summer Sessions is under a narrow set of circumstances. And more specifically, you talked about student population in summer session -- a lot of students are not UC students -- and I’m wondering what bearing that has on whether or not that service should count toward continuing. What’s the relevance of the student population?

NF: Thats been a factor for the University in that it’s a different standard in summer with non-UC students.

SS: Different standard to what?

NF: Well, that’s been the way that it’s been handled. A different level of rigor, excellence and the student body are different. To add a term that’s outside the academic year needs to be narrowed by these ideas that if a course is not offered in the academic year, or a course required by an academic program, that those courses would be granted credit toward continuing.

Matt Oliver: You’re saying there’s a connotation if there are more UC students in a class the workload is higher and the curriculum is more rigorous.

NF: I did not say it quite like that.

MO: Then I don’t understand what you said.

NF: There a difference between what happens in summer and the academic year.

MO: What is that connotation?

NF: The University has made the decision that summer doesn’t count.

Kat Lewin: Sorry, can you provide an example of specific departments and specific campuses where the learning objectives are different in summer or the curriculum is less rigorous because of the difference between summer and academic year?

NF: I’d have to check that.


On the purpose and utility of having a good grievance process in the contract.

Nadine Fishel: If there’s a problem and you’re feeling like contract language isn’t being adhered to, the solution is to grieve it, not to propose new changes to the contract. It is established practice that when parties meet at the bargaining is common to revise language based on grievance history...we’ve had lots of grievances, so let’s change the language. Or, if no grievances, there may not be a need for changed language. Looking at the grievance record can be very telling.

MM: You struck the entire grievance and arbitration clauses from the Article 7b Continuing Appointment Review Process and Article 24 Workload, yet you just said that the grievance record is a really good way to understand if there are problems with the contract that need to be addressed in negotiations.

NF: There are other methods, labor management meetings where we just all agree to a really good way to problem solve.


In response to our proposal to remove Article 35-No Strikes/No Lockout from our contract.

NF: What would be the mechanism for having labor peace if these aren’t in place?

MM: The mechanism would be a strong contract that communicates dignity and respect for UC teaching faculty. Adequate compensation that values the work that we do. Strong and fair access to grievance and arbitration.

NF: There’s a long standing practice… A quid pro quo to have no strikes, in exchange for a grievance process.

MM: We have seen in the University’s proposals about pre-continuing appointments and workload, the University is proposing to eliminate all grievance procedures. So, if that’s the University’s position, you are proposing to deny us these rights, so by your own logic, we should be removing the No Strikes article.


UC-AFT proposals on Reasonable Accommodation and Travel


Our proposals on Article 20-Reasonable Accommodation and Article 13-Travel aim to make benefits and resources more available and to clarify and strengthen processes. For example, in Travel, we clarify that UC Policy G-28 Travel Regulations applies to members of our bargaining unit. The policy includes a variety of ways that the University covers travel expenses in advance, meaning fewer UC-AFT faculty would have to wait to be reimbursed for their out-of-pocket travel costs. In Reasonable Accommodation, we clarify the range and types of accommodations that could be made, and we improve timelines for a more efficient process. Our proposed changes are critical for faculty who need accommodations, and they are consistent with our overall goal of working toward faculty equity throughout the contract.

Our next bargaining session is at UCI on October 8 from 10 AM to 4 PM in Humanities Gateway 1002. UCI members are invited and encouraged to attend for as much of the day as you can afford to spend with us!