Bargaining Update #9

An Important Message

Before we talk about our bargaining day, we have a very important message for everyone in our union.  As you may know, our colleagues in the AFSCME union, which represents more than 25,000 of UC’s service and patient care workers, will be on strike next week from October 23-25.  They are seeking a fair contract that includes and end to discrimination, fair wages, affordable healthcare, no outsourcing, and more. UC-AFT supports the AFSCME 3299 strike, and encourages all individual members to support their cause to the greatest extent they can.  You can support their cause include joining their picket lines during lunch or off-work times. Some members have chosen to tell their boss that they are taking leave without pay and not crossing the line.  The choice is yours. For more information on your rights to participate in the AFSCME strike, please see https://ucaft.org/content/afscme-and-upte-strike-october-23-25-uc-aft-rights-and-responsibilities.

Now, onto the update…

UC Administration met with the UC-AFT Librarians’ Table Team for our 9th bargaining session on Friday, October 19th at the UC Berkeley campus.

Article 24 – Grievance Procedure (part 1)

After introductions, UC-AFT took a few moments to respond with some changes to Article 24: Grievance Procedures, further clarifying some aspects of the informal and formal grievance process.

Article 13 – Salary

UC-AFT then presented on salary, passing a draft of Article 13.  Our revised proposal responds to UCOP’s suggestion of a 4-year contract duration.  We countered by sticking to our original increase request (22-26% for librarians), distributed over four years yet still contained in a three-year contract. We propose the following salary adjustments:

  1. Approximately $3,500 added to every annual point in the salary scale, an overall increase of around 3-6% depending on rank. (UCOP clarified that such an increase would need to be specified as a differentiated percentage, not a flat amount, due to their system requirements). This initial increase would be retroactive to October 1, 2018.

  2. 5% raise on July 1, 2019

  3. 5% raise on July 1, 2020

  4. 6% raise on July 1, 2021

Our proposal does not concede any ground on our request for a 22-26% increase to the salary schedule, which strives to close the gap between UC librarian pay and that of our peers at other academic institutions. We also reminded UCOP of our proposals to extend the number of points available at the top of the Librarian rank, and make promotions meaningful between the Assistant and Associate ranks by offering a 3-point increase at the time of promotion.

Lunchtime Protest

During our lunch break, librarians, lecturers, and nearly 100 other supporters gathered on the steps to the Doe Memorial Library.  Librarians held signs and taped their mouths shut to show how UC’s denial of our academic freedom has silenced us. Our supporters read powerful statements in support of librarians’ right to academic freedom, which were taken from comments left on our petition.  More folks gathered, and 100+ strong, we then marched in solidarity towards the Chancellor’s office, chanting “UC! Librarians! Will Not Be Silent!” along the way. Once we reached the Chancellor’s office, housed in California Hall, we found that we had been locked out!  Not to be discouraged, we posted a copy of our petition for Academic Freedom on the door to California Hall, and left posters at the entrance. Building staff were later observed taking in the petition.

Article 14 – University Benefits, and our Housing Testimonies

After lunch, we re-convened to present our proposal for Article 14 – University Benefits.  Our one request in this article is that librarians be eligible for housing benefits and assistance programs to the same extent as senate faculty.  Chief Negotiator Axel Borg stressed that this request involves no extra cost to the University, and can even be used as a recruitment incentive.

The table team then read several anonymous statements from librarians throughout the state, which detailed some of the struggles librarians face with housing in California.  We heard the story of a librarian who wanted to live close to their campus, but could only afford a 330 square foot studio apartment. We heard the story of a librarian who has to commute 5 ½ hours per day because they cannot afford housing close to their workplace.  We heard the story of a librarian whose monthly bills – rent, utilities, and a car payment – equal 91% of their take home pay, and they cannot always afford food or clothing.

“Thanks for that,” was UC’s response.  They did agree to reconsider our proposal, but said nothing substantive after our presentation.

Article 7 – Assignments, Transfers, and Reassignments

UC presented us with their Article 7 counter-proposal.  They agreed that the University should provide training to librarians who are reassigned, regardless of whether the reassignment is voluntary.  The denied our request to add in language that states the University will consider the librarian’s career path and expertise during reassignment, citing that existing language, which states the University will “consider alternatives” is sufficient.  They said, “Ultimately we [the management] are charged with making the decision,” about a librarian’s reassignment.

Article 24 – Grievance Procedure (part 2)

UC presented us with a counter-proposal to our latest proposal for Article 24 – Grievance Procedure.  Our proposals for the grievance procedures were modest, however UC denied many of them. Most prominently, they rejected our request to make the informal resolution process optional.  Although our union and UC agree that we wish to resolve grievances informally and at the lowest possible level, UC disagrees that this should be optional.

We ended our bargaining session at 3:00pm; the next bargaining session will be on November 2 at UCSD.

In Solidarity,

Carla Arbagey

On behalf of the UC-AFT Librarians Table Team

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