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You See (UC) Democracy?

10 Ways Faculty Can Combat_0.pngWho is Professor Staff?  Why do some lecturers have access to independent studies or honors sections, but not others? Why wasn't I invited to the faculty meeting this month?  Why isn't my photograph published on the department website along with all the other faculty? Why do I feel like such an outsider in my own department?

You See (UC) Democracy? is a scalable strategic campaign that aims to improve democracy within our own union, within our departments, divisions and libraries, and even within the UC Board of Regents.  No effort is too small, and no ideal too lofty.  With every member we sign up, we are one step closer to a fully enfranchised teaching faculty, with equitable pay, job security and voting rights.  Get started with You See (UC) Democracy? to your colleagues about the union, organize a meeting in your building, get to know other lecturers and librarians and talk about the issues that matter to you. Believe that postive change is possible!  

The heart of a democratic union is an active and involved membership. UC-AFT is working on every campus to increase membership levels and develop a stronger union leadership.

Organizing around member issues...Non-senate faculty and librarians are engaged in strategic organizing around the issues that affect UC-AFT members the most.  At UCSC, UC-AFT members are working to save programs that are targeted for cuts by a Dean.  At UCSB, lecturers are gathering information about independent studies and honors sections because the policy governing access to these courses is not clear and is not evenly applied.  The next step will be to decide on a strategy to improve access to these courses for lecturers.  Librarians at UCSB are planning workshops to assist their colleagues in navigating the review process. They are also developing a set of best practices for communication about goals, progress and professional ambitions between review initiators and rank and file librarians. At UCLA, the union is developing strategies to pressure the Dean of Social Sciences to stop a practice of churning lecturers before they reach the continuing appointment.  Each of these examples illustrates how rank and file union members have initiated local efforts which aim to improve our workplaces without relying on the effort and timeframe required of contract negotations. 

Getting Organized for Statewide Bargaining...The Unit 18 contract expires in June 2015, so the full contract will open for negotiations in the months before it expires.  UC-AFT is preparing for those negotiations now by increasing our membership numbers, identifying and organizing around local issues, training union members on Power Structure Analysis, identifying weak areas of our contract, and forming a statewide bargaining committee.  One of the key challenges our union will face in the next round of negotiations will be to determine which areas of the contract hold the most potential to bolster local organizing efforts, and to move us closer to the ulitmate goal of a fully enfrachised teaching faculty.  In December 2013, our librarians ratified a five-year contract with limited re-opener negotiations during those five years.  Librarians now have a wonderful opportunity to seek out constructive ways to enforce their new contract and to push library administration to adopt best practices for review and promotion, and to provide robust support for professional activities. 

After 30 years of union negotiations, non-senate faculty positions at UC compare favorably with most adjunct faculty jobs in the country when considering compensation and benefits.  However, the quality of education we deliver is influenced not only by pay and job security, but also by workload, enfranchisement in governance, and the extent and quality of institutional inclusion and support for our positions. UC-AFT’s You See (UC) Democracy? campaign is building upon our existing leadership in the contingent faculty movement to advance the front beyond the necessary fight around pay and benefits to other core issues affecting educational quality.  UC-AFT believes that these issues can only be addressed through the realization of a fully enfranchised teaching faculty at UC.  Our new campaign, You See (UC) Democracy? provides the necessary structure for a multi-dimensional, locally driven, long-term effort toward this end.