SAN DIEGO — The union representing thousands of UC lecturers just called off a two-day strike that was set to impact nine UC campuses including here in San Diego. In a tweet they said they've reached a tentative agreement -- averting the impact to thousands of classes.
The tweet by the UCAFT union announced "transformative and groundbreaking" improvements in areas, including job stability, workload, and compensation. They say classes at all UC campuses will now resume as normal.
"We reached a resolution to the 2 Unfair Labor Practices that prompted our strike authorization. UC mgmt bargained in good faith, and our Board has accordingly canceled the strike called for 11/18 and 11/19. Classes are expected to proceed without disruption today and Thursday."
The union went on to say that while they will not be walking the picket line anymore, they will still be gathering across the state for celebratory rallies at noon at the locations previously designated for rallies.
A VP of the union representing those thousands of UC lecturers also took to twitter to thank union members who dedicated "creativity, time, and energy" to the agreement efforts.
The agreement includes:
-- A transition plan providing job stability provisions that will take effect beginning July 1, 2022.
-- Job stability with multi-year appointments in the first six years, with reviews before reappointment and the right to be reappointed if deemed effective.
-- A pathway to apply to become a senior continuing lecturer.
-- Specific and transparent performance review criteria.
-- A $1,500 signing bonus upon ratification and 3% annual salary increments.
-- Expanded eligibility for paid medical leave to all bargaining unit faculty.
-- Increased support for members with children to fully paid leave of four weeks.
-- Expanded retirement and health benefits for summer sessions lecturers.
-- Professional development funding.
"The University is proud of the dedication and commitment to harmonious labor relations both sides demonstrated to achieve a fair deal that honors our lecturers and prioritizes the University's instructional mission," said Letitia Silas, UC's executive director for systemwide labor relations.
UC-AFT President Mia McIver called the agreement "a landmark and transformative achievement. This is the best contract in UC-AFT history and, we believe, among the best for contingent faculty nationwide. We are pleased with how the parties have come together to reach an agreement emphasizing the importance of the role lecturers play at the University."
UC President Michael Drake praised the agreement at Wednesday's meeting of the UC Board of Regents.
"This is a very positive development for our entire community, especially the students that we serve," Drake said. "This contract honors the vital role our lecturers play in supporting UC's educational mission and delivering high quality instruction and education. It also means more job security and other important benefits for our valued lecturers. It's a good agreement all around."
The agreement must still be voted on by union members before it goes into effect. A ratification vote is expected to begin later this week.
The UC-AFT -- which is affiliated with the California Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers -- represents lecturers and adjunct professors hired on a yearly or quarterly basis, as well as librarians and some other employees.
Before the agreement, the union said it has filed seven unfair labor practice charges with the California Public Employees Relations Board over the last 20 months. They accused Drake's administration of failing to bargain in good faith over a handful of issues, including eligibility for a paid family leave policy.
The UC countered that the unfair labor practice claims were "neither supported by the facts nor any finding by the California Public Employment Relations Board."
Because of the agreement reached between the University of California system and the UCAFT union, classes at all UC campuses were expected to proceed without disruption Wednesday and Thursday.
This is an update to the original story below:
The University Council-American Federation of Teachers says it has filed seven unfair labor practice charges with the California Public Employees Relations Board over the last 20 months. They accuse UC President Michael Drake's administration of failing to bargain in good faith over a handful of issues, including a paid family leave policy.
The UC-AFT represents lecturers and adjunct professors hired on a yearly or quarterly basis, as well as librarians.
According to the union, the UC's family leave policy would provide eight weeks of paid leave for some employees to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child. But the eligibility threshold excludes thousands of lecturers, the majority of whom teach part-time and are more likely to be women and caregivers than their tenure-track colleagues, the union says.
The union claims UC management initially said the new program was subject to collective bargaining but later declared that they would not negotiate.
"We are reasonable people. We've been bargaining in good faith," said UCSD lecturer Alison Black, who teaches education studies. "We have been following the rules."
Union members, though, contend that UC management is not following the rules.
"This strike is about a pattern of bad-faith bargaining and unfair labor practices committed by UC management," said UCSD lecturer Megan Strom, who teaches Dimensions of Culture.
UC lecturers also say they are fighting for fair pay.
"Just being able to survive and being able to give all the time they want to their students when they can't even really afford rent," said UCSD lecturer Amy Kennemore, who teaches anthropology. "And everyone has to pick up side gigs and it just becomes really exhausting.
Some union members also pointed out that the vast majority of non-tenured lecturers are female, while three-quarters of tenure-track faculty in the UC system are male.
"So we do see this as a gender equity issue in terms of how we treat our different faculty groups," Black told News 8. "And we need to be treated with just as much dignity and respect as all the others."
Other issues include:
-- additional compensation for online instruction and essential teaching supplies;
-- settlement terms after improperly withholding employer retirement contributions;
-- the effects of layoffs lecturers at UC Davis; and
-- the impacts of COVID conditions on K-12 teachers represented by UC-AFT.
The walkout could affect classes at UC San Diego, where officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The UC issued a statement saying, "The University of California is disappointed with UC-AFT's decision to pursue a two-day strike -- withholding instruction is grossly unfair to our students and a strike does not move us closer to a contract."
"If you really want to talk about what's unfair and what is grossly unfair to students, we should really be talking about what are the conditions under which we are working, as educators and how the university is engaging with us in bargaining," Strom responded.
"The union's unfair labor practice claims against UC are neither supported by the facts nor any finding by the California Public Employment Relations Board," according to the university.
According to the UC, university negotiators presented union leaders with a "comprehensive proposal" on Oct. 11 that included substantial pay increases, an enhanced appointment system with more stability for lecturers, evaluations for pre-six lecturers at the end of each appointment term, greater transparency in job expectations and mechanisms for addressing workload concerns.
Ryan King, associate director of media relations for the UC President's Office, told City News Service on Tuesday that officials have since enhanced that offer, offering, among other things, four weeks of leave at 100% of pay for all bargaining unit members, including for those members who may not be eligible for the family medical leave policy.
"We continue to meet with union leaders in good faith ... with the aim of achieving a fair five-year agreement. This latest round of bargaining follows two and a half years of negotiations and a mediation period," according to the UC.
The two sides were conducting all-day negotiations on Tuesday.
The union invited students to join the picket line, and asked its members who teach remotely to turn off access to their website Wednesday and Thursday.
The UC-AFT is affiliated with the California Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.