Twitter icon
Facebook icon
RSS icon
YouTube icon


UC Union Coalition Letter to Drake re: Labor Relations April 2, 2021


Official letter on letterhead (PDF)

Office of the President April 2, 2021
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th floor
Oakland, CA 94607

RE: University of California Labor Relations

Dear President Drake:

It has now been one year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nearly 80,000
members of our respective unions have worked tirelessly to save lives and care for patients,
support students on campus and across the country, and teach and do research in the most
difficult circumstances. They have helped keep UC running while suffering the devastating
effects of COVID-19: their and their families’ sickness and death, working while parenting and
schooling, and, for many, dire economic loss.

In addition to months of working around the clock saving the UC, our members joined with
millions of other union members to win the necessary electoral and legislative battles that
garnered billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding for the UC. Labor brought home electoral
results in the Presidential election and in Georgia before logging millions of calls, letters, and
actions lobbying for the newly passed American Recovery Act.

With the passage of this much-needed funding, the University stands to receive more than $2.2
billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding. Additionally, the State of California is set to fully
restore UC’s base funding for Fiscal Year 2021-2022. This help far exceeds expectations, as does
UC student enrollment, which is higher than ever.

We celebrate that the University, along with many other public education institutions, public
services, and working people everywhere, will greatly benefit from union workers’ sweat
equity. Yet it appears to our members that the University is leaving them behind:

● Low-wage workers continue to struggle without adequate COVID 19 paid leave, and the
University’s policy extending sick leave for childcare is wholly insufficient. CSU has
offered twice the amount of leave to its employees. The University is aware that the
employees who are hit hardest by COVID, women and people of color, are many times
more likely to need extended leave because of repeated infections of themselves and
their families or because they need to remote school their children. By refusing to
address this problem, the University shows that it is not only tone-deaf to the racial and
gender-biased implications of their policy, but is simply cruel.

● Unnecessary furloughs of UCOP employees on whom we all rely for our pay, benefits,
and retirement are depriving workers of their vital livelihoods while increasing wait
times for employees seeking help with payroll, benefit, and retirement issues.

● Lecturers are still without a labor agreement that meets their basic needs for job
stability, transparent and enforceable workloads, and fair wages. Although there is
already a proven-effective industry standard in California for contingent faculty rehiring
preferences, after nearly two years of bargaining with UC-AFT, UCOP Labor Relations
has not proposed any ways to meaningfully reduce lecturer turnover rates. Meanwhile,
lecturers are suffering layoffs and arbitrary non-renewals.

● UC Davis Health administrators, at the direction of CEO Dr. Lubarsky, continue to deny
resident and fellow physicians of CIR/SEIU parity with the other UCs. They are refusing a
fair housing stipend, which, as one Regent stated, is “budget dust” to UCDH.

● The UC is closing Olympia Hospital laying off hundreds of workers and cutting off much-
needed services in a pandemic.

● UC is hiking rents for Academic Student Employees and Postdocs across the system by
as much as 70%, refusing to freeze and lower rents on all campuses during a pandemic
that has left the economically precarious only worse-off.

● UC’s communication about and distribution of COVID vaccines has been chaotic,
opaque, and inadequate.

● The University is still refusing to follow the AFSCME agreement and Regents policy and
insource hundreds of low-wage workers. It is pushing through the privatization of the
UC Santa Cruz Early Education Center by contracting with a for-profit, low-quality
company, destroying the careers of long-term UC teachers and staff despite strong
objections of parents, students, and faculty.

● The university refuses to guarantee that all UC workers won’t be laid off for the
duration of the pandemic.

Our members cannot accept being asked to do more, with less, while the University receives
billions of additional funding which their unions helped secure. They also will not stand to have
their unions’ being side-lined without a seat at the table for decisions about re-opening
campuses for on-site work.

In many conversations with our union leadership over the last year, the Regents assured us that
you were selected as President because you met one key requirement: the ability to rebuild a
positive relationship with labor after years of contentious labor relations, strikes, and legislative
battles. Yet UC Labor Relations’ approach continues to be marked by reluctance or outright
refusals to bargain, repeated failures to honor terms and conditions of labor agreements,
frivolous arbitrability challenges, and a lack of local campus and health system accountability.

We must see an immediate change of course in order to build the positive relationship called
for by the Regents and Legislative leadership. We request a meeting with you before the end of
April to understand how you will solve the issues we have identified above and determine
together how the University can live up to its publicly stated goals.
We look forward to your response.


AFSCME Local 3299
California Nurses Association/National Nurses United
Committee of Residents and Interns (CIR), SEIU
Council of UC Faculty Associations
Teamsters Local 2010
Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD)
UAW Local 2685
UAW Local 5810
UPTE-CWA Local 9119

cc: UC Chancellors
UC Regents
Exec Director Silas
Vice Provost Brown