Your table team met with UCOP at UC Berkeley for our sixteenth bargaining session on Wednesday, March 13th.
Let’s back up a bit here, and talk first about the tremendous amount of work that your entire bargaining team accomplished following the disappointing experience last week in San Diego. We decided to rise above the disappointment and rally towards a potential resolution. The team presented UCOP with a full accounting of all articles that we have opened for negotiation, and pinned down the fundamental elements necessary for a package deal to combine with their expected salary offer. We worked diligently over ten days to get this done: working over the weekend, holding conference calls late into the night, and balancing many factors to make hard collective decisions. We got it done.
While the table team did this arduous work, the Contract Action Team sprang into action, organizing a campaign to send letters of appeal to the University Librarians. They secured individual Unit 17 librarian signatures on each campus, and volunteers hand-delivered the letters to the ULs by Tuesday afternoon. Read more about that here. We know this effort buoyed and inspired the bargaining team.
On Wednesday in the Doe library, we had a room full of observers including numerous students from a UCB labor studies class taught by lecturer Anibel Ferus-Comelo. We had so many supporters that there was standing room only (and some of the students gave up their seats to UCOP negotiators and sat on the floor). Our bargaining room in the Doe Library was recently equipped with a television screen, which we used to project our slideshow featuring librarians and supporters from across the state. It was a wonderful and positive environment for bargaining!
In informal discussions before the formal session, UC negotiators informed us they received approval of the salary concept they’ve been discussing, and are now preparing a written proposal. This is good news.
Pressing on, we began with a presentation of our package/bundle deal on non-salary articles. We went through each of the 32 existing articles and two new ones, reiterating important issues they needed to address, while conceding some issues we value but will put aside in order to move forward. This “package” is conditional on a written salary proposal that matches what they have described to us off the record, and is only valid through the end of the next bargaining session.
We broke for lunch and headed to the steps in front of the beautiful Doe Library for a rally. We were joined by allies from AFSCME 3299, UAW 2865, UAW 5810, Teamsters Local 2010, Oakland Education Association, the Berkeley Faculty Association, and AAUP. These staunch supporters gave rousing speeches highlighting the struggles of all UC unions: fair wages and fair contracts.
Following lunch, UCOP let our team know that they wished to make a complete counter-proposal, similar to our package of proposals. This, they said, would take some time: longer than we had left during the day. Therefore, we agreed to end bargaining and await their response.
Our next bargaining date was scheduled for March 20th. However the UPTE and AFSCME unions, which represent UC’s research, technical, healthcare, and service employees, have announced they will strike that day, so UC-AFT cancelled bargaining in support of their strike. We encourage our members to support our sister unions by either withholding their labor and joining the picket line, or supporting their strike in any way they feel comfortable. Be sure to show union solidarity by wearing your UC-AFT shirt to any actions!
Our next bargaining date is now scheduled for March 25th, location to be determined, but probably at UC Berkeley.
As always, if you have specific questions about our negotiations please contact local bargaining team or organizing committee members.