UCSC lecturer Roxi Power celebrates
UCSC lecturer Roxi Power celebrates a tentative contract agreement that would give pay increases, family leave and job stability to lecturers at a rally on Wednesday.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Higher Ed

Reaction from UCSC: Lecturers hail new deal as ‘a landmark and transformative achievement’

The What: Narrowly averting a two-day strike, University of California lecturers and the Office of the President announced Wednesday morning that they had reached a tentative agreement after more than two years of negotiations.

The So What: The union representing more than 6,500 lecturers across the statewide system, and about 350 lecturers at UC Santa Cruz, said this contract is the best in the union’s history. Members of the union — the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, or UC-AFT — still have to vote on the contract before it goes into effect.

Backgrounder: Contract negotiations between the UC and lecturers began more than two years ago. Within that time, lecturers filed seven charges with the California Public Employment Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices, including the refusal to bargain over a family paid leave policy. The university said complaints were not supported by the board and that the union’s concerns were addressed in its recent proposals, including one proposed on Oct. 11 and another Monday.

Union members authorized a strike regarding their complaints of unfair labor practices and scheduled the two-day strike for Wednesday. In the meantime, they continued negotiations with the UC about their contracts until reaching the tentative agreement early Wednesday morning.

As part of that tentative agreement, the university system would grant a 7% pay increase 60 days after the ratification of the contract and annual salary increases, according to the Los Angeles Times.

UCSC lecturer Ryan celebrates contract agreement with the UC Nov. 17, 2021.
UCSC lecturer Ryan Carle celebrates a tentative contract agreement with the UC that would give pay increases, family leave and job stability to lecturers during a rally Wednesday on the UCSC campus.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Voices:

  • “It’s a historic win, the biggest win we’ve had, creating a professional path for lecturers and to stop churning across the system,” Roxi Power, a UC-AFT Santa Cruz co-chair and UCSC Writing Program lecturer, told Lookout during a Wednesday rally. “Now we need to work on workload.”
  • “This is a landmark and transformative achievement. This is the best contract in UC-AFT history and, we believe, among the best for contingent faculty nationwide,” UC-AFT President Mia McIver said in a statement. “We are pleased with how the parties have come together to reach an agreement emphasizing the importance of the role lecturers play at the university.”
  • “This is a very positive development for our entire community, especially the students that we serve,” UC President Michael Drake said during a Wednesday board of regents meeting. “This contract honors the vital role our lecturers play in supporting UC’s educational mission and delivering high-quality instruction and education. It also means more job security and other important benefits for our valued lecturers. It’s a good agreement all around.”

The Context: The sides agreed on a five-year collective bargaining agreement that union members say would:

  • Add job security protections that would create chances for professional advancement
  • Establish raised salary minimums and increased pay for all lecturers; annual cost-of-living adjustments for each year of the contract
  • Define workload standards and create better enforcement
  • Provide four weeks of paid leave for care of a new child or ailing family members

What’s next: Though the strike was canceled, lecturers held rallies to celebrate the contract agreement at campuses across the UC system Wednesday afternoon. A ratification vote is expected to take place later this week, according to a joint statement from the UC and the union.

Additional reading: UC lecturers win raises, concessions in deal that averts two-day strike

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