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UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Update April 16, 2021


UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Session

April 16, 2021



The Upshot

At bargaining on Friday, UC management gave us their Article 7A Pre-Six Appointment and Reappointment proposal. They are offering nothing at all on evaluation and rehiring of pre-six lecturers.

For more than two years, we’ve made it clear through testimonials, data analysis, and copious examples that there is an industry standard for contingent faculty rehiring processes already in place at every CA community college and Cal State University. And yet management can’t be bothered even to float any ideas that could be the basis for compromise.

During the bargaining session, about 200 observers expressed the frustration and rage they feel at this lack of respect. It’s abundantly clear that nothing short of direct collective action will motivate UC admin to listen to us.

Things have got to change. Sign our strike readiness pledge to let UC management know that lecturers are fed up. Read our strike readiness resolution to understand how we got here and why hundreds of your colleagues have already committed to authorize a strike.

Expect Management to Try to Force Us to Choose Between Job Stability and Humane Raises

We had been waiting for management’s counterproposal on Article 7A since December 16, 2020, when we passed our most recent 7A proposal. Management sat on our priority article for four months because they use the same tactic every time we negotiate a contract: delay, delay, delay until April, then create artificial urgency by putting money on the table and threatening to take it away unless we agree to a contract by May 1. UC admin’s chief negotiator indicated in her introductory remarks that they may try this again this year. We see through this dirty and manipulative tactic. Toying with desperately underpaid lecturers is not bargaining in good faith.

Here’s the thing about raises for UC-AFT lecturers: at least half of our current members will never see the raises management offers because they’ll be disemployed when their appointments end. Living and sustaining raises are essential, but if a lecturer has lost their job, they’re meaningless. That’s why job stability is one of our top priorities: other contract improvements, including workload improvements and raises, have to apply to employed lecturers to be meaningful. We won’t be distracted by dangling dollars when our members experience hunger, homelessness, loss of insurance, and mental health crises because they’re dismissed for no fault of their own.

Along with our volunteer lecturer bargaining team, thousands of lecturers have told UC’s negotiators that Article 7A is our priority. And, we’ve told them that we will not sign a contract until Article 7A includes fair and transparent evaluation procedures and some form of rehire preference when there is work available for qualified lecturers who are doing their jobs well.

Movement on Multi-year Appointments… Nothing on Reviews and Rehire Rights

UC’s previous 7A proposal included two-year appointments starting in a lecturer’s third year of employment. Our bargaining team pointed out a gaping hole in their proposal: in the second year of the two-year appointment, a department could decrease the lecturer’s appointment percentage for any reason or no reason at all. There would be nothing to stop a department from giving a lecturer a full-time position for the first year, and then one class only for the second year. After our team pointed it out, UC’s negotiators closed this loophole in the proposal we received on Friday by committing to a consistent appointment percentage over the two-year appointment. This is certainly progress, and it shows our efforts are working.

However, since most UC-AFT lecturers are not renewed after their first appointment, and the average length of service among all lecturers is less than two years, under UC management’ proposal not much will change. Very few lecturers will ever actually get to that third year, when they can benefit from a two-year appointment.

And, since management’s proposal offered nothing on reappointment review procedure or rehire preferences, lecturers will still be arbitrarily replaced at the end of their two-year appointments. We don’t have confidence that two year appointments alone will help more lecturers reach eligibility for the Excellence Review that leads to a Continuing Appointment. The possibility of a two-year appointment beginning in the third year is nearly meaningless in the absence of a review procedure and rehire preference upon positive evaluation.

Management Fails to Finish the Bargaining Session

As we always do, our bargaining team caucused (i.e., met separately) immediately after hearing management’s presentation on Article 7A, which was the sole proposal they had sent to us. We adopted this practice long ago to check in with each other and stay unified before we respond to any proposal. The team talked with dozens of bargaining observers to survey members’ reactions and make sure our response reflected the will of our members. After we returned to complete the bargaining session, UC’s negotiators informed us that they wouldn’t be coming back. Their refusal to continue bargaining was yet another slap in the face from UC’s highly-paid executives and lawyers.

After the close of business on Friday evening, UC’s chief negotiator emailed seven additional proposals to our team. This was highly irregular, since we don’t bargain over email. Our next bargaining session is Friday, April 22, 3-5pm. We look forward to hearing management’s presentation of the additional articles at that time.

Next Steps: Your Colleagues Need You in This Fight!

Our fight for job stability, fully paid work and compensation that recognizes our qualifications and experience will only be won if we stand together and demand change from UC management.

How can you contribute?

You’ll find links for all of these and more at