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UC Attempts to Remove Librarians from Bargaining Unit--UC-AFT Pushes Back



In 2013, UCLA Library administrators notified UC-AFT that it wanted to remove twenty-one librarians from the bargaining unit.  This means that the terms and conditions of their employment would be set by the Academic Personnel Manual rather than the Unit 17 Memorandum of Understanding (contract).  Non-union librarians don’t bargain collectively and have little power to improve UC policies; most beneficial changes for these positions result from UC raising non-union librarians up to the standards won by union librarians in bargaining.  The entire series suffers when librarians are stripped from the bargaining unit because fewer librarians benefit from the contract, and it becomes much more difficult to negotiate improvements to the contract. This is UC's plan. 

For over a year, UCLA seemed to drop its pursuit of this unit modification.  Recently, the Library informed us that it had filed with the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) to remove 13 librarian positions from the unit.  This is the process laid out in Article 1 of the librarian contract.

 Library administrators claim that the 13 positions (of which several are vacant) are supervisors.  They are listed below.  Under the Higher Education Employer-Employee Act (HEERA), supervisors are not part of a bargaining unit.  HEERA’s definition of a supervisor is very specific:

“Supervisory employee” means any individual, regardless of the job description or title, having authority, in the interest of the employer to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if, in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment. With respect to faculty or academic employees, any department chair, head of a similar academic unit or program, or other employee who performs the foregoing duties primarily in the interest of and on behalf of the members of the academic department, unit or program, shall not be deemed a supervisory employee solely because of such duties; provided, that with respect to the University of California and Hastings College of the Law, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that such an individual appointed by the employer to an indefinite term shall be deemed to be a supervisor. Employees whose duties are substantially similar to those of their subordinates shall not be considered to be supervisory employees.

The HEERA definition is further contextualized by years of case law decided by PERB.  PERB oversees situations like these, where UCLA and the union cannot come to agreement about how the definition is being applied.

We as a union have met several times with the Library since 2013 to learn more about why they believe these positions meet the specific criteria set by HEERA.  Most recently, we met on August 26, 2015.  At that meeting, UCLA did not present any convincing evidence that any of the positions in question should be removed from our bargaining unit. Consequently, the next step will be to attend an “Informal Settlement Conference” on Sept. 21 at the PERB offices in Oakland. At that conference, the Union and UCLA will be working with an attorney from PERB who will act as a mediator to attempt again to find some common ground as a means for settling this case. However, if equitable and acceptable settlement terms cannot be reached, the Union will proceed to have this case go to a formal hearing before a PERB administrative law judge.


Team Leader for Research, Instruction, and Collection Services (Biomedical Library)

Knowledge Management Team Leader (Cataloguing and Metadata Center)

Data Integrity Team Leader (Cataloguing and Metadata Center)

Teaching and Learning Coordinator (College Library)

Area Studies Team Leader and Collection Coordinator (CRIS)

Humanities Team Leader & Public Services Coordinator (CRIS)

Head of Public Services (Special Collections)

Head of CFPRT and/or Head of Collection Management _-- UCLA to clarify (Special Collections)

Access Services Librarian (Law Library)

Head of Cataloging (Law)

Cataloging Supervisor (FTV Archive)

Coordinator of the Science Libraries (SEL)

Team Leader for the Science & Engineering Library (SEL)