UC-AFT Bargaining Update #11

The 11th session of bargaining between UC-AFT and UC took place at the UCOP offices in Oakland on Friday, November 9th.

The day began on Academic Freedom, with UCOP’s rejection of our counter (proposed on Nov. 2) to their side letter.  They are moving forward with the Provost’s systemwide workgroup, and they “don’t think [AF] is something appropriate for the bargaining table.”  We set this aside until later in the session, as we had a counter proposal on salary to present.

As we said at the table, we have presented the salary gap librarians face, with detailed analysis to back it up.  We’re committed to seeing significant improvements. We don’t have a clear idea of UC’s understanding of the issue, as their proposals for 2% and then 3% annual increases have been passed without any explanation or comparative data about librarian compensation. We’re still not sure why they want to subtract the lowest point from each rank and add a point to the Assistant and Associate ranks–they haven’t bothered to explain the benefit. If we had a clearer understanding of the rationale behind UCOP’s position, it would help the negotiation process.

This is UC-AFT’s third proposal and it’s not fundamentally different. It expresses the initial $3,500 raise as a percentage increase for each step, as UCOP had requested. (At least, when they previously said they “don’t do” flat dollar amount increases, only percentages, we interpreted this to mean they weren’t objecting to the amount, just the way we were asking for it.) Other than that, there were no economic concessions on our side – just some clarifying language in a couple places in the article that had been discussed at prior sessions.

UC asserted that, while willing to improve the situation in other areas, it would never agree to retroactive pay or a “me too” clause – which states that our raises would be increased to match any raises given to non-represented librarians.  We clarified that our most recent agreement contained both such provisions; they stood by their statement but clarified that “never doesn’t always mean never.”

They also expressed their disappointment that we did nothing to move towards them in our salary proposal. We dismissed the notion that their move from 3-2-2-2% to 3-3-3-3% was progress; we see the initial offer as insulting, and an obvious ploy to depict their current offer as “progress.” We pointed out that their latest 3% per-year proposal doesn’t even cover inflation; it will leave us further behind in actual wages.  We then reiterated the salary gap’s impact upon our ability to attract and retain librarians.

We moved on to Article 24: Grievances, presenting our latest version of the article.  We also passed our response to Article 7: Assignments, Transfers, Reassignments, which rejected proposed language that temporary assignments into management positions be removed from the bargaining unit, completely at the discretion of management.

We spent a good chunk of the afternoon actively debating language in Article 24: Grievances, working through disagreements on several procedural points in the grievance process. We came to a tentative agreement on this article by the end of the day.

Finally, we returned to the topic of Academic Freedom.  We asserted that we still believe this is a perfectly appropriate topic for the bargaining table, and that any set of rights and responsibilities ”akin” or “analogous” to AF but not called academic freedom would do a massive disservice to our profession and the UC.  We did express flexibility on our proposal that LAUC should adjudicate any AF disputes among librarians; we are willing to explore the Senate as the adjudicating body, as long as AF remains the term and that the resulting rights and responsibilities are appropriate.  Management expressed encouragement over that information, and said they would carry that information back to UCOP.

To wrap up the day: we were happy to make progress by reaching tentative agreement on an important article, with table discussions and resulting MOU language that clarifies important procedural protections for librarians.  That said, the debate continues on all the other articles discussed at table.

We are now entering a gap in bargaining dates; it was not possible to find any dates in the rest of 2018. Our next bargaining dates will be in January 2019, and those dates are still being agreed upon.  In that interim we will reaching out to members, to keep working on strategy and help bring bargaining to a conclusion. Stay tuned to our blog, and look for other messages in the coming weeks.

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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