Bargaining has begun! On April 17 at the UC Berkeley Doe Library, your Table Team of member librarians from UC-AFT met with UCOP Labor Relations to bargain the successor agreement for the UC-AFT Unit 17 MOU.
The session began just after 10:00am with opening statements and introductions, and the UC-AFT librarians did not disappoint. Leading the librarians’ bargaining team is Chief Negotiator Axel Borg (Davis), who spoke passionately about the important work that librarians do to advance the University of California’s research, teaching, and service mission. He also commented how much this round of bargaining is different than past efforts – that contributions from librarians across the system are strikingly different in quantity and quality than past bargaining campaigns. Then, the remaining librarians on the table team gave detailed introductions, explaining our wide variety of backgrounds and job responsibilities. Fifteen or so observers – additional UC-AFT members and supporters from sister unions – were present and introduced themselves.
Afterwards, the UC’s Chief Negotiator Tony DiGrazia began with an introduction, followed by administrative representatives from the 10 campuses. There were a few additional attendees from UC Labor Relations observing, making up a team of ~15 people. The various representatives came from different backgrounds, such as employment lawyers, labor relations specialists, Library AULs, and human resources directors.
After introductions, UC-AFT passed across the table our first proposal to administrators: Article 1: Recognition. Our proposed changes are related to academic freedom and the ability of the union to confer with administration when library professional positions are created. We explained the need to change the language from discuss to confer. “Confer” strengthens our union’s role in providing professional and academic judgment about new job titles.
At lunch, the UC-AFT table team was embraced and encouraged by a crowd of 100+ librarian supporters on the steps of the iconic Doe Library. Many thanks to our sister unions, supporters, and all the members at Berkeley who made this event happen! The Table Team headed back into Doe energized & focused.
In the afternoon session, UC-AFT passed two more proposals across the table, for Article 10: UC-AFT Rights and Article 11: Release Time. Article 10 contains a handful of minor, administrative changes that seemed to be non-controversial to the UC side. Article 11 asks for release time for two union members from some of the larger campuses to attend negotiations; currently only one representative per campus is allowed paid release time. There’s also language to grant release time for Union Stewards on each campus, and for the Chief Negotiator during bargaining.
Tony DiGrazia began the day with praise for our librarians, stating, “this is a wonderful group, we’re proud of our librarians.” But, when asked if the University would have articles to propose during this session, we were told, “Not really.” Thus, UC-AFT did not receive any proposals from UC. We ended bargaining at this point, and retreated into caucus to strategize and prepare for next week. We promised them a more extensive presentation on academic freedom of librarians during the next bargaining session, which is scheduled for April 24 at UC Irvine.
Please ask your Table Team representative to give you more details when you see us on campus this week – and look for more posts with pictures and video from our lunchtime event at Berkeley. We are pleased with how day 1 went, and are eager for what’s next.
The UC-AFT Table Team
David Eifler, Berkeley
I-Wei Wang, Berkeley
Axel Borg, Davis (Chief Negotiator)
Mitchell Brown, Irvine
Martin Brennan, Los Angeles
Miki Goral, Los Angeles
Jerrold Shiroma, Merced
Carla Arbagey, Riverside
Laurel McPhee, San Diego
Dominique Turnbow, San Diego
Cristela Garcia-Spitz, San Diego
Kristen LaBonte, Santa Barbara
Ken Lyons, Santa Cruz