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UCLA Lab School Demonstration Teachers are Ready to Bargain Safely and in Good Faith


As we begin our negotiations, our priority as Demonstration Teachers is to ensure that the UCLA Lab School community has healthy teachers ready to welcome children at the beginning of the year. This commitment should not be in conflict with our legal right to bargain a robust side letter, similar to those at the other University of California PreK-12 schools.

At 6:19 p.m. on Monday evening, August 8, less than 48 hours before bargaining was scheduled to begin, our UC-AFT Executive Director, Bill Quirk, received an email from Kim Massih of UCLA Labor Relations. Below you will see the University’s main positions expressed in that letter and the perspective of Demonstration Teachers and UC-AFT.

  • The University insisted on meeting in-person and accused us of not bargaining in good faith if we fail to show up for in-person bargaining on Wednesday, August 10. Given the high rates of Covid 19 in the community, we have repeatedly offered to meet via Zoom in order to protect the health and safety of everyone involved. Please see the Positive Case Details Dashboard distributed by UCLA on August 9. We have also offered to meet in-person when Covid community transmission rates are low. In addition, as a show of our good faith commitment to starting negotiations, our bargaining team has several proposals prepared and ready to pass for consideration by the University.
  • Kim Massih wrote that “Demonstration Teachers will be in-person soon for their teaching responsibilities, so it is not unreasonable to request that negotiations take place in person.” There is a precedent as recent as May and June of 2022 for holding faculty meetings outdoors or via Zoom to reduce risk even while we teach in-person. We accept the risks of in-person teaching when we are informed of specific COVID mitigations. However, our bargaining team should not be forced to risk exposure with undefined mitigations in order to carry out our legal right to bargain, especially before the beginning of the school year. Please read Bill Quirk’s response to Kim Massih and Sandy McDonough which includes a list of questions to clarify what Covid mitigations would be in place during bargaining sessions.
  • Kim Massih asserted, “the only matter that the parties are required to bargain, is the salary increases for the Demonstration Teachers.” During the recent negotiations with the UC-AFT for the main contract, however, Nadine Fishel, Chief Negotiator for the University of California, assured Mia McIver and the bargaining team many times that the UC PreK-12 schools would be able to negotiate robust side letters. It was Nadine Fishel’s preference and expectation that UC-AFT and UCLA management would negotiate a full lab school side letter covering many topics upon the settlement of the Unit 18 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • The University will allow bargaining members to make presentations, but does not agree to open the negotiations to general observation by all interested parties. In the recent past, however, all UC-AFT negotiations have been open to observers, including negotiations at Geffen and Preuss.

We are pleased that Sandy MacDonough, the University’s outside lawyer, sent a brief response this afternoon to our UC-AFT Executive Director’s latest request and has now agreed to meet with our bargaining team over Zoom for the first meeting on August 10.

We have agreed to discuss ground rules for negotiations, including any health and safety considerations that would facilitate a safe and productive in-person session at the earliest possible date. She did not address opening the negotiations to observers.


Again, we want to bargain in good faith and look forward to collaborating with the University on how to bargain safely and equitably.


Please visit our blog again after August 10, to read the proposals that we have to passed to the University on the first day of bargaining.