Bargaining Update #5 – February 8, 2024

Group of librarians and allies in blue union t-shirts raise their fists in solidarity outside the Shields Library at UC Davis.

Today the UC-AFT Librarian Table Team traveled to windy UC Davis for our fifth bargaining session with the University. We presented a very robust package of proposals that relate to what it means to be a UC librarian and our peer review process. The University also shared an initial proposal for salary. It’s been an action-packed day!

UC-AFT Proposals

Article 11 — Release Time

Chief Negotiator Kendra K. Levine (UC Berkeley) started with our proposal for Article 11, which seeks work release time for the Chief Negotiator to attend bargaining. Existing provisions for release time for representatives from each campus help ensure that all campuses’ perspectives are available to contribute to bargaining. The Chief Negotiator has significant responsibilities and presents the statewide perspective at each bargaining session, and can’t be expected to also represent their own campus. 

“Package” for Articles 1, 4, 5, 25 

UC-AFT passed a package of interrelated proposals. Throughout our contract, many articles will refer to one another, so we passed our counter proposals for Articles 1, 5, and 25, with our  original proposal for Article 4, a substantial provision that defines our work and qualifications as academic librarians. 

Article 1 — Recognition

Michael Yonezawa (UC Riverside) passed UC-AFT’s counter to the recognition article. Our major change was to redirect when the University must give notice to UC-AFT when it creates a new non-union position, focusing on responsibilities and functions outlined in Article 4 (instead of separately defining them in Article 1). For efficiency’s sake, it makes sense to point to existing criteria for appointment already articulated in Article 4B. 

Article 4 — Definition, Criteria, Terms of Service for Appointment, Merit Increase, Promotion and Career Status

Joy Holland (UCLA) presented our proposal for Article 4, which is foundational to our academic positions within the University. We proposed changes to align with current realities and practice in the definition of librarian functions (parallel to the definitions in APM 360-4). We also proposed adjusting the description of degree requirements and qualifications to reflect the realities of academic librarians’ diverse educational backgrounds. 

Reinforcing the crucial role of peer review committee recommendations, the most detailed part of our proposal navigated the rare situation where a career-status librarian is not meeting performance expectations, and how it is addressed through our peer review process. Our proposal introduces clarity and transparency by outlining the circumstances that call for a remediation plan. In addition, the proposal fills in detail on the remediation process to ensure it provides a full and fair opportunity for career appointees to receive feedback, support, and peer evaluation in addressing performance issues.

We also proposed a definition for abbreviated reviews, which are mentioned in Article 5, as a streamlined option for librarians at the top of the Associate Librarian or Librarian ranks. 

Article 5 — Personnel Review Action Procedure

I-Wei Wang (UC Berkeley) passed our counter to the University’s Article 5 proposal, presented on January 19 at UCLA. We proposed that the University may initiate off-cycle reviews in order to meet competitive market conditions or to address review of a remediation plan (as outlined in our Article 4 proposal). We further proposed language to reinforce that for career appointees, terminations through the academic review process must include the remediation procedure. We appreciate that these circumstances are rare, but we want to ensure a clear, transparent, and thorough process for navigating these difficult decisions. 

Article 25 — Arbitration

Kendra presented our counter proposal on Article 25, which we also received last month at UCLA. We accepted most of the University’s proposals to update and streamline the process, and had some further suggestions for increased clarity and efficiency. Remember that arbitration happens after the 3-step grievance process has been exhausted, which takes generally 6 months to a year. UC-AFT wants the deadlines and steps to be straightforward and clearly defined.

University Proposals

Article 13 — Salary

The University passed its opening proposal on Article 13. Our team will analyze the proposal in depth, but we can share the top line details now. The University’s salary proposal is for a six-year contract, and includes the following: 

  1. Removing the bottom two salary points at each rank. Any current appointees at those steps would move up to the new bottom step. 
  2. A 3.5% increase for all Librarian salaries at the time of ratification (in 2024).
  3. Annual range adjustments to be applied July 1 of each year of the contract:
    • 2025: 3.0% increase
    • 2026: 2.5% increase
    • 2027: 2.5% increase
    • 2028: 2.0% increase
    • 2029: 2.0% increase

This is just the beginning of negotiations around salary, and we are encouraged by the University sharing a proposal today. However, we recognize unaddressed problems in the University’s proposal. We know it’s imperative to secure salaries that reflect the expertise and professionalism brought by Unit 17 librarians as key academic employees at the UC. And we need salaries that adequately address the economic pressures our librarians are experiencing regarding cost of living and other financial concerns, like the recent cost increases to our UC-provided health benefits. 

Article 21 — Vacation and Article 22 — Holiday

In December, UC-AFT passed thoughtful and well-supported proposals to stop the forced use of leave during winter campus closures and to provide floating holidays in order to support the diverse religious and cultural traditions of our members. The University countered by rejecting all of UC-AFT’s proposed changes. 

We know that winter curtailment and floating holidays are important to our members and we will continue fighting for substantive improvements to our contract on these issues.

Next bargaining: February 22 on Zoom and beyond!

We want to extend a huge thanks to the librarians of UC Davis for their hospitality and warm presence throughout the day. During the afternoon caucus, we wished a hearty Happy Birthday to Melinda Livas, UC Davis Unit 17 librarian and union steward.  

The January 30 Zoom bargaining was efficient and productive. We’re returning to conduct another online bargaining session on Thursday, February 22. Watch out for more information soon about how librarians and allies can join the session in solidarity as observers. Our next in-person bargaining session will be Tuesday, March 5 at UC Irvine. Then we’ll be on Zoom at least one more time on Friday, March 15. Mark your calendars!

In Solidarity,

The UC-AFT Unit 17 Table Team

Kendra K. Levine, Bay Area, Chief Negotiator
I-Wei Wang, Bay Area
Timothy Vollmer, Bay Area
Jared Campbell, Davis
Mitchell Brown, Irvine
Xaviera Flores, Los Angeles
Miki Goral, Los Angeles
Rachel Green, Los Angeles
Joy Holland, Los Angeles
Jerrold Shiroma, Merced
Carla Arbagey, Riverside
Michael Yonezawa, Riverside
Tori Maches, San Diego
Laurel McPhee, San Diego
Jenny Reiswig, San Diego
Kristen LaBonte, Santa Barbara
Alix Norton, Santa Cruz
Tamara Pilko, Santa Cruz
Jess Waggoner, Santa Cruz