UC-AFT holds virtual teaching faculty rally to settle contract

Screenshot from Zoom Meeting
Jasmine Lee/Staff
The University Council-American Federation of Teachers hosted a virtual rally Monday at 1 p.m. to call on the UC Office of the President to settle a new teaching faculty contract and reappointment process.

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Nearly 200 people gathered at a Zoom rally to participate in a virtual rally Monday at 1 p.m. to call on the UC Office of the President, or UCOP, to settle a new teaching faculty contract and reappointment process.

According to the UC memorandum of understanding, Unit 18 represents non-Senate faculty who instruct UC students. Their contract, which dictates Unit 18 faculty’s treatment, had been in effect since Feb. 29, 2016, but expired Jan. 31, 2020. The one-hour rally was hosted by the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, or UC-AFT.

“(UCOP) President (Michael) Drake, I hope you are listening. We need a fair contract now,” UCLA lecturer Mia McIver said at the rally. “Tell your labor relations executives and lawyers to bargain evaluation and rehire in good faith so that great teachers can keep teaching.”

McIver added that UC campuses have done well with expanding higher education to historically underrepresented students and noted the 16% increase in applications to UC campuses. She also believes, however, that the treatment of campus lecturers should be on par.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said that when lecturers earn a higher wage, it should not require them to be overworked or risk their health teaching more classes.

“Everyone who works on the college campus getting a living wage doesn’t mean that all of a sudden, there are ten or twenty different courses to teach,” Weingarten said at the rally. “It means a living wage and the freedom to teach and the freedom to strive.”

A living wage also requires equity and accountability, according to Weingarten. She added that this is especially important in regards to COVID-19 vaccines and testing to ensure that teaching is safe for everyone.

UC San Diego lecturer Alison Black said that because 75% of the tenure teachers are male-identifying, federal equity would promote gender equality for female-identifying faculty.

Former UC Davis physical education lecturer Maryclaire Robinson, who was laid off Sept. 27, 2020, also spoke at the rally for her 14 other former colleagues, who are also jobless.

“Health and wellness professionals are no longer supporting students during the time when mental health and wellness is so important during quarantine and COVID-19,” Robinson said at the rally.

UCSD lecturer Michael Calderón-Zaks said the time used to reapply for campus jobs he previously held prevented him from dedicating more time to his students.

Due to the lack of job security, Calderón-Zaks advocated for UCOP to grant transparency for those who are laid off and security for those who do well in their jobs.

“We demand that the UCOP settle the contract now, fairly quickly, with common sense evaluations and rehiring processes,” McIver said at the rally. “Faculty equity is student success and we won’t stop fighting until this fight is won.”

Contact Jasmine Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @JasmineLee_02.