UC-AFT, UCOP continue talks on job stability, compensation

Photo of UC-AFT protest
Lisi Ludwig/File
The University Council-American Federation of Teachers presented its compensation proposal and answered questions from UC negotiators about its job stability proposal at a bargaining session Jan. 21.

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The University Council-American Federation of Teachers, or UC-AFT, presented its compensation proposal and answered questions from UC negotiators about its job stability proposal at a bargaining session Jan. 21.

According to David Walter, a teaching faculty member in the UC Berkeley English department and comparative literature department, the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, and UC-AFT have been bargaining on three main topics: job stability, compensation and workload for almost two years. At the most recent bargaining session, UC-AFT explained its compensation proposal in addition to discussing how to raise the minimum salary and schedule future raises that match with inflation and the standard of living in the Bay Area.

However, according to Tiffany Page, a continuing lecturer in the campus department of global studies, there were no updates regarding job stability.

“What we are asking for is not radical,” Page said in an email. “We are simply saying UC should assess its instructors and if they are doing a good job they should be rehired. Why can’t they agree to that?”

UC-AFT previously proposed a 1-2-3 proposal in which lecturers would be hired under a one-year contract and then under a two-year contract if they received a positive review, which can continue until a six-year contract is reached.

In response to the proposal, UCOP proposed a 1-1-2-2 plan. According to Page, UC-AFT countered with another proposal that provides a two-year contract in the first year. They are now waiting for a counterproposal from the UC.

Bargaining will continue, but the parties are still not close to a full agreement, according to UCOP spokesperson Ryan King.

“UC continues to believe that our lecturers’ deserve the stability that a contract offers, especially during these uncertain and challenging times,” King said in an email. “The University is doing everything possible at the bargaining table to reach an agreement quickly, but require the partnership of union leaders.”

Many lecturers, however, are increasingly frustrated with the UC and feel as though discussions have stalled, Walter said.

Despite some negative sentiments, Walter said UC-AFT will continue reaching out to faculty and undergraduates to spread the word about who is providing education and where time, money and efforts are being spent. Walter also called on UC President Michael Drake to be more involved.

“These are the teachers that come into the classrooms and have the face-to-face time with undergraduates. This labor force needs to be treated with seriousness and needs to be appreciated,” Walter said. “We are continuing to organize. We are continuing to strengthen the networks of our members. We’re not going away.”

Contact Catherine Hsu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @catherinehsuDC.