Bargaining Update #4 — January 23, 2008

Librarian Bargaining Update 1/24/08

The University and UC-AFT Bargaining Teams met at UCOP in Oakland on Wednesday, January 23rd from 10AM until 5pm. The entire AFT team was present, and most of the UC Administration Team was there as well.

The discussion continues to be cordial and informal. The parties agreed to and signed off on ground rules for discussion, which are best summed up by saying we agree to bargain at the table rather than in the media. We will keep our members (and the Administration team will keep their principles) fully informed on what is going on in bargaining, but unless a party believes that the process is broken and gives the other party notice, we will not discuss the details of what is being discussed at the table with anyone other than the people we represent. We clarified that the ground rules are a public document as are the initial proposals, and will be published on our blog, but the actual written counter offers will not be shared with the public or the media.

Both teams completed the presentation of their initial proposals. We went through each article opened by either one or both parties and had a full presentation of the intent of the proposed changes or additions to the MOU. Each side asked questions to clarify the meaning of proposals and the intent behind them. The University team explained that they are working to get all of the relevant sections of the APM (Academic Personnel Manual) related to Unit 17 librarians into the actual MOU, so everything is in one document. Each side opened several articles but the most important issues are clearly salary (and other forms of compensation and benefits) and review procedures.

There were no real surprises. The Administration said several times that they did “not intend to deprofesionalize Unit 17 librarians or to do away with peer review,” but only were seeking expedited reviews in a number of limited cases (for example when they need to respond with a counter offer to Unit 17 members who have been offered jobs with other institutions). We will see how this develops in our discussions.

The two teams agreed that at our next meeting (February 1 in Oakland) that each party will counter-propose on three articles opened by the other side. Each team picked some of the less critical articles to start the real give and take of bargaining.

The UC-AFT negotiating team will meet on Friday night in Oakland after our next bargaining session (February 1, 2008) to develop our position on the review process. We intend to try and address the Administration’s desire for an accelerated review process for some limited cases, but to do so in a way that does not undermine the peer review process in any way. This discussion will get us into the issue of the relationship of the UC-AFT to LAUC and we will be working to maximize the fairness of the review process (including maintaining and/or enhancing the participation of Unit 17 librarians in the process) while, at the same time, not undermining the more collegial framework that LAUC has provided at least on some campuses now and in the past. There is a potential tension between these two objectives and we intend to fully consult with the larger Bargaining Committee and UC-AFT members in Unit 17 before putting a specific counter-proposal on the table.

We have every expectation that the University Administration will seek an extension of the current MOU until the State budget picture is at least a little clearer (since that is unlikely to be the case before the end of our MOU in March). And while we certainly do not intend to signal any willingness to abandon our salary demands because the State is having a budget crisis (any more than the UC Administration held back huge salary increases for a number of top administrators AFTER they already knew about the State budget crisis), we MAY be willing to accommodate a bargaining schedule that delays serious bargaining over salaries until it is at least a little clearer where the Administration team will have to go to get the money to fix embarrassingly low, librarian salaries. Of course, the resolution of this question will also depend upon full consultation with our Bargaining Committee (two reps from each campus) and our members.

In sum, things remain on track and slowly moving forward with no surprising news to report from the bargaining table.

Mike Rotkin
Chief Negotiator
Unit 17

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