The third day of bargaining between UC-AFT and UC took place at the UC Davis campus on June 19th.
After a delay by the UC side of more than an hour, the day began with introductions of several UC Davis librarians joining us as observers, who each delivered a few minutes of details of their amazing work, and expressed their frustrations with our substandard pay. Several UC Davis faculty members also spoke, eloquently expressing their dependence on the expertise of librarians, and mourning the fact that Davis has reduced their cadre of librarians in recent years.
Throughout the day, the UC-AFT team delivered our proposed changes to two existing articles, and introduced a third new article:
Improvements to the Peer Review Process (Article 5)
UC-AFT has proposed changes to Article 5, which governs the procedures of peer review for academic librarians. There are a few key aspects that would take effect with these changes:
Clarification that all involved in the peer review process must also be subject to peer review, i.e., that they are academic appointees. We believe it is fundamentally important to face the peer review process personally to understand how to properly review the work of another.
Certain types of reviews require the university to solicit letters of evaluation “from qualified persons,” and typically these persons are drawn from a list provided by the candidate. However, the University is not bound to stay within the list, and may solicit letters from others. We are not suggesting a change in that process; we are suggesting that such actions be subject to grievance procedures should this part of the process be abused in any fashion. Current language prohibits the candidate from filing a grievance on this part of the process.
Further, candidates for review will be given adequate time to review and respond to these letters of evaluation, and commentary from administrators in their reporting line. Lack of clarity in this part of the review process has lead to inconsistent and sometimes unfair practices, demonstrating the need for these changes.
Typically, the final decision in the review process is with the University Librarian, but the contract vaguely states that a “designated University official” shall have this authority. We are suggesting the proper designated authority to be the Chancellor, who can then delegate this authority to the University Librarian.
At some campuses, Review Initiators (typically a candidate’s direct supervisor) and review committees are not currently allowed to include a recommended rank and salary point for the candidate in their assessments. New language would make this a requirement of each of those assessments. Final determinations would remain with the Chancellor (and likely delegated to the University Librarian), but this information will clarify the intent of each reviewer and help inform the final decision.
Improvements to the discipline and dismissal process (Article 23)
Article 23 of the MOU is concerned with procedures for the discipline and dismissal of an academic librarian. We are proposing the following changes to the article:
The process will be reconfigured to mirror the progressive model laid out for grievance procedures in the MOU. This would mean a more graduated process, allowing greater opportunity for correction in an informal stage, before matters progress to formal stages of discipline.
Greater clarity in the difference between an informal verbal warning and a formal written warning
Additionally, changes to response times in the dismissal process are designed to give the librarian adequate time to respond to administrative actions, and are aligned with the timetables laid out for grievance procedures.
Suspensions of Pay are possible in the process; when implemented, they will no longer constitute a break in service, an important consideration for the purposes of calculating pension and benefits. Without this protection, a suspension can be much more damaging than losing a week of wages.
Sabbatical Leave (New article)
When Librarians attain career status, they do not rest on their laurels; in fact, they are expected to expand and enhance their contributions to the field of librarianship if they hope to continue to receive favorable reviews. An expansion of guaranteed professional development funding is only one aspect of this. Sabbatical leave time can allow librarians to pursue intensive programs of research and study, write a scholarly article or book, and recharge their professional juices.
It’s an existing benefit for UC faculty, described by the UC in this way:
Sabbatical leave is a privilege granted to faculty members in certain academic titles to enable them to engage in intensive programs of research and/or study. Faculty accrue sabbatical leave credits for each term worked. Application to take a sabbatical leave is made to the department chair and includes a description of the project. Such leaves are subject to approval by the Dean and the Chancellor. Within ninety days following return from leave, the faculty member is required to submit a report of sabbatical leave activities. Following sabbatical leave, all appointees are required to return to University service for at least as long as the period of the leave.
The new article we are proposing allows academic librarians to apply for a sabbatical after at least 6 years of service, mirroring sabbatical schemes outlined for faculty at UCs and for academic librarians at similar institutions. It is yet another tool to improve retention of qualified librarians, and help them develop professionally to the benefit of the UC.
Article 19 – Leaves of Absence
UC proposed a small change which states that if applicable state or federal law requires that the offer leave that is more generous than what is currently provided, they will comply with the law. However if applicable law is more restrictive, the contract shall apply.
Appendix D – Family and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability/Childbearing Leaves
UC stated that it had a lawyer from UCOP general counsel review this article to bring the language up to date with current law and practice. Therefore, they proposed many small changes, including definitions of types of “serious health conditions” and clarification of FMLA vs. CFRA leave (Family and Medical Leave Act. vs California Family Rights Act).
The bargaining team plans to review these changes carefully with our UC-AFT lawyer to determine next steps. UCOP offered to include their lawyer during a subsequent bargaining session to answer our questions about their proposed changes.
Our bargaining session ended at 3:40pm, followed by a caucus of the Table Team, during which we strategized for our upcoming bargaining dates.
We encourage you to talk to your Table Team member, who can provide more details about how things are going overall.
Our next bargaining date is July 26 at UCLA, and the following dates have also been confirmed:
August 8 – Fifth Bargaining Session, UC Berkeley
August 28 – Sixth Bargaining Session, UC San Diego
The Table Team Needs Your Help! Please share your story with us:
Tell us your story about any issue in this bargaining campaign, and why it is important to you.
Talk to you Table Team member and give us your suggestions on any aspect of bargaining.
Wear your union t-shirt on bargaining days, and on T-Shirt Thursdays! You can wear a shirt from previous campaigns, or order a new t-shirt at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/uclibrariantshirt.
Your UC-AFT Librarians’ 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
Carla Arbagey, Riverside
Laurel McPhee, San Diego
Dominique Turnbow, San Diego
Cristela Garcia-Spitz, San Diego
Kristen LaBonte, Santa Barbara
Ken Lyons, Santa Cruz