Bargaining Update #5

Bargaining Update #5

The UC-AFT Librarians’ Table Team met with the UC contingent for our fifth bargaining session on Wednesday, August 8th at the UC Berkeley campus.

Appendix D – Family Care and Medical Leave

During the morning session, we discussed the University’s proposal for Appendix D of our MOU, which deals with family care and medical leave (FML).  We had the opportunity to ask questions of Stephanie Lieder from UCOP’s general counsel, who authored UC’s proposed changes. UC Berkeley law librarian and table team member I-Wei Wang took the lead in addressing our concerns with Stephanie Lieder. Our questions involved the definition of a “serious health condition” of a family member and coverage of domestic partners; we also introduced, for discussion, our proposal for the use of sick leave during FML taken as Parental Leave. The University will prepare an amended proposal responding to our concerns and questions, but will wait for our proposal on Appendix D language regarding sick leave use during Parental Leave.

The UC side then asked some follow-up questions regarding the proposed changes to the article on Temporary Librarians, which we presented on 7/26 at UCLA.  There were no big revelations or commitments from this discussion; we mostly re-iterated the points made last time in response to their questions.  Before long, it was Noon and time to break for lunch.

Berkeley librarians, lecturers, and other supporters turned out in force for a gathering with pizza and conversation out in front of Wurster Hall.  We were also joined by California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt! The warm welcome was much appreciated by the table team. After lunch, bargaining continued…

Ongoing Discussion about Academic Freedom

Following UC’s outright denial of our right to academic freedom during the last bargaining session, we had a few questions for their team. These questions centered around academic freedom as defined by APM 010, and 015 – the Faculty Code of Conduct.  Here’s what we asked of them:

  • Since it is a “major responsibility of the administration is to protect and encourage the faculty in its teaching, learning, research and public service,” then does the university have a similar obligation to the librarians?

  • To accomplish the University’s teaching, research, and public service mission, it is necessary for faculty to have freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas.  Is it UC’s position that this is not necessary for librarians?

  • If UC acknowledges that when librarians are an Instructor of Record they have academic freedom, then why does it not apply to all instruction?

  • If faculty are allowed “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance,” then do librarians not have this same right?  We too participate in shared governance, through LAUC.

Last time, UC argued that academic freedom arises out of the instructor-student relationship, and so it is a privilege only accorded to faculty, who serve as what is known as an Instructor of Record.  Today, it was all about the “rigorous review process” that faculty are subject to: UC argues that because faculty research and courses are subject to review via the academic senate, then they have academic freedom.  They wondered that if we are requesting academic freedom, then are we also requesting that the faculty senate review our work? The UC team kept asking the question, “What are you trying to protect?” They felt that our individual intellectual freedom, as accorded by first amendment rights, is enough.  After more than an hour of pointed questions from us like the ones above, and a few perplexing questions from them, we set the debate aside. Again, look to an additional post on the blog for a more detailed breakdown of their answers to our questions, and try to capture the logic of their overall arguments.  Honestly, that last part will be difficult.

Following that, UC-AFT proposed changes to four articles:

Article 20 – Sick Leave

We are suggested minor changes to address issues that have arisen with the use of sick leave at various campuses.  Here is what we proposed:

  • Allow librarians to use accrued sick leave (as well as vacation leave) in lieu of leave without pay when taking Parental Leave. This mirrors parental (or “baby bonding”) leave provisions in the APM (see APM 715-0(c)) and other policies.

  • Delete vague and non-specific language allowing the University to require documentation of illness, as it is intrusive, inappropriate and unnecessary (and at times, contraindicated by medical professionals: recall the flu epidemic when patients were told not to come to hospitals and doctor’s offices, how then could one obtain a doctor’s note for leave?) to require documentation for ordinary use of sick leave

Article 21 – Vacation

We clarified that the exception to allow a librarian to accrue vacation beyond the 48-day maximum applies to the life of the contract, rather than a “one time” event that could apply to the librarian’s entire career.  We believe that any time a librarian’s use of accumulated vacation time is denied because of programmatic needs, there should be an exception to the maximum vacation accrual. We proposed moving (to the article on holidays) language regarding options for non-holiday days occurring during holiday closures.

Article 22 – Holidays

We moved language from Article 21 dealing with holiday closures into this article, where it is a better fit.  In doing so, we also proposed explicit language that states librarians may chose to work during holiday closures (typically the 2-3 days that our campuses are closed between Christmas and New Year’s holidays) via alternative work arrangements.  While current contract language allows for this, local interpretations of this policy have caused inconsistencies. We want librarians to have the choice to work during days when they are prohibited from coming to campus.

Article 32 – Flexible Work Arrangements

We proposed language that would strengthen our access to flexible work arrangements and clarify some of the situations during which these arrangements can be made.  For example, we feel that if a librarian attends a conference during regularly scheduled days off (for most of us, that’s the weekend!), then they should be able to have flexibility in their work schedule before and after the conference.  One of our table team members even shared that they regularly need to work 12 days in a row and are not allowed to adjust their regularly scheduled days off! This shouldn’t be happening.

We are also strengthening our position as appointees entitled to flexible schedules by changing “may request” to “may exercise” flexible work arrangements. At some campuses, librarians have had trouble with supervisors inconsistently applying reasonable judgement in this area.

Finally, we are striking the last section of this article, which states that it is not subject to grievance or arbitration.  Given the current inconsistency of management’s decisions about flexible work arrangements, we need the right to grieve.

Next Up:

Our next bargaining session will be on Aug. 28th at UC San Diego.  It’s a BIG DAY: UC-AFT will propose our changes to Salary and Professional Development.  That means all hands on deck!  We will need your support in many ways leading up to, during, and after that day, to make sure our voices are heard far and wide on these proposals!

In Solidarity,

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

 

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