Bargaining Update #8 – March 15, 2024

large number of people on zoom screens raising their fists in solidarity

We were back at the Zoom bargaining table this week for another round of negotiations with the University. And it was a pretty substantial day—both UC-AFT and the University passed the last of our initial rounds of proposals! We passed significant contract proposals relating to workload creep and proposed processes and protections surrounding that, and confirming UC-AFT shared governance with Librarians Association of University of California (LAUC) on areas of overlap. And it was great to have many librarians, lecturers, and allies again join us as observers and supporters in the Zoom room.

UC-AFT Proposals

Article 7 – Assignments, Transfers, and Reassignments

Article 7 – Assignments, Transfers, and Reassignments is the section of our contract that protects U17 librarians from unreasonable or excessive workload. There are fewer UC librarians now than there were in 2020, and some positions are not being refilled after a librarian leaves the UC. Yet in President Drake’s 2030 Capacity Plan, the University outlines the potential for adding up to 40,000 more full-time enrolled students than we had in 2020-21. Many librarians have been asked to take on greater responsibilities and scope of work. We believe that strengthening the protections against a burdensome workload is critical to ensuring librarians can provide excellent professional support to teaching, research, and student learning across the UC.

Carla Arbagey (UC Riverside) presented our proposal on Article 7. We propose that when a librarian is requested to add significant interim or permanent duties to their assignment, the review initiator will meet with the librarian to discuss these duties. The review initiator will be expected to outline existing duties that will be reduced to accommodate the change in workload, as well as the anticipated start and end dates for the additional duties or work assignment. 

Alongside the conversation between the librarian and their review initiator, any additional duties shall be documented in writing and added to the librarian’s statement of responsibility in the employee’s personnel file within 30 days.

If a librarian believes that their assignment(s), duties, or workload are unreasonable or excessive, the librarian should confer with their review initiator and appeal to the next level of supervision, and if necessary, to a final decision maker designated by the University. We added language to clarify that if there is still a concern regarding unreasonable or excessive workload, such a final decision by the University designee remains grievable.

Article 29 – Waiver

Waiver is an important provision that helps define the matters over which the union and management must negotiate. In our case, the waiver provision functions to protect our role as the exclusive bargaining representative as to the terms and conditions of employment for unit librarians—including our status as academic appointees—while also affirming the advisory role of the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) in the shared governance of the University’s policies and procedures impacting librarians, their academic status, and the operations of the university libraries. Our goal is to ensure that the University consults both LAUC and UC-AFT on professional and policy issues that affect UC librarians and the conditions of our work. Chief Negotiator Kendra K. Levine (UC Berkeley) presented our proposal.

The union’s proposal affirms that on professional issues and new university policies impacting librarians and libraries, the University should consult with LAUC as the shared governance body for all librarians (both represented and non-represented). It also clarifies that unit members, who comprise the majority of LAUC, are not precluded from participating in such discussions. At the same time, the proposal defines where UC-AFT does have sole bargaining rights for represented librarians, and specifies certain provisions of the Academic Personnel Manual over which the University must meet and confer with UC-AFT when seeking to make changes.

We acknowledge that the University may establish and implement policies, procedures, rules, and regulations over the life of our contract. Our proposal states that when the University initiates or changes a policy, procedure, rule, or regulation that impacts the terms and conditions of employment for represented librarians, the University must meet and confer with UC-AFT.

University Proposals

The University passed proposals for Article 10 – UC-AFT Rights and Article 17 – Management Rights. The table team will be analyzing these proposals in greater detail.

Upcoming Bargaining: April 16 at UC Berkeley

We’re now entering the next phase of bargaining—where the negotiation really begins! We are meeting again at UC Berkeley on Tuesday, April 16. It’s our only bargaining date in April. We’d love to see you there! We will then be bargaining again (hopefully on Zoom) on May 3. 

Our current contract is set to expire on March 31, 2024. As our negotiations with the University have been productive, and we believe that they will continue to be, we’ve agreed to a one-month contract extension through April 30, 2024. If bargaining continues to be constructive, we expect another extension will be likely.  

And lastly, here’s a joke for you all which comes from a popsicle Kendra had just before presenting Article 29 (to soothe her sore throat): Where do you look for kittens in the library? In the card cat-a-log!

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