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UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Update Sessions #20 (6/19) and #21 (6/24) Zoom


UC-AFT Faculty Bargaining Sessions #20 and #21

June 19 and 24, 2020



Over 130 Members and Allies Pack the Zoom Room!

On June 19 and 24 we had an extraordinary show of support from approximately 140 observers each day - not just Unit 18 lecturers, but also quite a few allies: tenure-track faculty, graduate student workers and undergraduate students. On the 19th, all observers introduced themselves and expressed their support for rehiring rights and a stable career path for lecturers. On the 24th, all observers introduced themselves and stated that they would “do whatever it takes” to win job security and a career pathway for teaching faculty at UC.

Since UC-AFT won continuing appointments by going on strike in 2003, only 7.8% of more than 23,000 lecturers have attained a continuing appointment. The average pre-continuing lecturer gets churned out of the university after less than two years when cheaper workers are hired to replace them. More than half of all lecturers teach for one academic year or less.

UC Student Association Issues Statement of Support

Our chief negotiator, Mia McIver, read a statement from the UC Student Association urging President Napolitano to provide teaching faculty with job stability in order to provide students with “quality education, mentorship, and guidance.” The UCSA strongly endorses our proposal for multi-year appointments, a clear and consistent reappointment review process, and rehire rights for current faculty before new faculty are hired.

UC Punts Again on Job Stability and Career Pathway

In short, on June 19:
Having taken three weeks to examine our emergency-formulated, extraordinary circumstance-motivated, burden-shouldering proposal for Job Stability and Career Pathway, UC negotiators were prepared to say … that they’ll have answers for us next time.

Then, on June 24:
UC’s negotiators responded to our job security proposal with the following: A supposal for a sideletter to the contract that would describe a “pilot program” to grant pre-continuing lecturers “the right” to inform their departments about courses we believe we are qualified to teach.

Let’s make this as clear as possible. Our proposal for job stability and a career pathway (mostly in Article 7a) has not significantly changed since we first proposed it in July 2019. Job continuity and opportunities for career advancement has been one of our three core demands. Our May 29 package proposal sets aside our economic and workload demands in acknowledgement of the COVID crisis and economic fallout. We will not budge on job security. This is our proposal:

  • a clear and consistent reappointment review process;
  • Right of first refusal for available classes after a review establishes competence, and;
  • one year, then two year, then three year appointments in the first six years.

UC’s negotiators’ big idea for job security for pre-continuing teaching faculty is a hedged offer (supposal) for a pilot program (trial) in a side letter (temporary) giving us the right to do what we always do, what we’ve always done…ask for our jobs back term and term, year after year with no obligation from the university to rehire us.

UC Threatens Impasse in Bargaining Process

On June 24, UC began the day with an overview of all the progress we’ve made in negotiations over the last year. This is the third or fourth time they’ve reviewed improvements we’ve previously agreed to in this process. These improvements are also the subject of a letter from UCOP Director of Labor Relations, Peter Chester, that began circulating on some campuses on June 26. The point of this review and Peter’s letter is to distract our members and supporters from our mission to achieve meaningful job security in this round of contract negotiations. Nonetheless, here’s Chester’s letter and our point by point response.

On the job security front, UC administrators have offered nothing, which brings us to their threat of impasse in the bargaining process. On several occasions on June 24, Nadine Fishel mentioned going to impasse if we can’t reach agreement soon. Impasse, simply put, is a legal stage of bargaining where one or both sides assert that no further progress can be made in negotiations. Required impasse procedures of mediation and fact finding must occur before the employer can impose their last, best and final offer and before the union can strike.

So, Nadine’s threat of reaching impasse could be more clearly or specifically articulated as a threat that UC will impose a contract. Our counter, which we have been preparing for throughout this bargaining campaign, is a strike to win job security and a career pathway for teaching faculty at UC.

We are not at impasse, but it is important for UC-AFT members to understand the stake of this moment in negotiations, and to join us in convincing decision makers in the administration that the only way forward is meaningful job security for teaching faculty.

Where does this leave us?

Fourteen months into the bargaining process, it has become abundantly clear that reasoned arguments will not carry the day. It is now down to collective action.

Recent events have shown that sustained public protests can accomplish in a short period of time what decades of constructing thoughtful arguments could not. When private appeals to reason or morality fail, we need public action. UC-AFT has organized online-based campaigns with low participation costs, that we invite all members and allies to participate in.

As we continue to engage the UC through the traditional bargaining process, we need to also consider other types of action: from the traditional (labor strikes) to the newer (“occupy” movement). We need to awaken broad-based support in our members and our allies. We need to engage with undergraduate students, as they ultimately have the most to lose from the mistreatment of lecturers and librarians by the University. We need to ask our senate colleagues to publicly support our job security and career path demands. And, we need to force decision makers in campus administrations to choose a side...with us for stability and career pathway, or with UCOP lawyers for precarity and the gig academy. Which side are they on?


Solidarity Defeats Precarity! When we fight, we win! We Teach UC!