Bargaining Update #10 – May 3, 2024

This past Friday we had our 10th bargaining session with the University. We appreciate all of you for following along and engaging in this campaign. We wouldn’t be here without you all! 

In our session, we covered critical ground on a number of consequential topics. We made significant gains with workload, we proposed more precise timelines for adjusting flexible work arrangements, we won greater clarity on how to handle remediation plans in the review process, and we learned of the University’s plans to re-define librarians through potential revisions to APM-360.  

Read on for more details! 

UC-AFT Proposals:

Article 7 – Assignments, Transfers and Reassignments

At the previous bargaining session, the University’s counter proposal to Article 7 rejected our stipulation that review initiators should discuss which duties would be reduced to accommodate an additional workload. On Friday, UC-AFT insisted on the need for librarians and their review initiators to have a conversation when additional duties and workload are assigned, which includes the possibility to reduce existing duties. 

After a break, UC came back to the table with a counter that accepted our proposed update. The counter acknowledges that librarians, in consultation with their review initiators, use their professional judgment to determine how they might meet the goals of their current position and any additional duties while having the ability to discuss which duties might be reduced. 

We still have disagreement about the appeals process when a librarian believes their workload is unreasonable or excessive, and we will continue to advocate for contract language that gives librarians more power when they are subject to unrealistic workload demands.

Article 8 – Layoff

We passed a counter rejecting the University’s proposal that would have widened the instances in which the University can conduct a layoff. The current contract language is clear that layoffs are separations due to budgetary reasons or lack of work and we insist on maintaining that existing language. 

Article 32 – Flexible Work Arrangements

We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made on this article, with both sides agreeing to significant additions around librarian requests for hybrid work location arrangements and alternate work schedules. We passed a second counter reasserting our ability to request ergonomic equipment and to protect fully remote workers. We believe librarians should have access to the ergonomic equipment they need whether they are working from an office in the library or from a remote location, and we continue to push for the ability to request this equipment. We believe that fully remote workers need adequate notice for modifications to their remote work arrangements—14 days (the current notification timeline on some campuses) is unacceptably short for such a major change. We also continue to work on articulating when temporary adjustments to flexible work arrangements can be made by the University.


University Proposals

Article 2 – Nondiscrimination

At the last bargaining session, we passed our updated proposal to incorporate the Abusive Conduct in the Workplace Policy and Anti-Discrimination Policy into this article, providing a union grievance avenue for violations of these University-wide policies. Our April 16 proposal also updated references and language parallel to the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy. The University’s counter made further changes to align with those policies. We’ll be examining their language in greater detail. 

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

During the February 8 session, the UC-AFT team proposed changes to how librarians’ functions are defined in the contract in order to align with the current realities and practices of librarian work. This change would also bring the definition in sync with how librarian work is currently defined in the Academic Personnel Manual (APM), Section 360-4. We also proposed adjusting the description of degree requirements and qualifications to reflect the realities of academic librarians’ diverse educational backgrounds. 

On Friday, the University responded with a return to current contract language on the definition of the Librarian Series—a definition largely codified almost forty years ago, which has not applied to Librarian Series appointees outside the union since 2016. The University shared that it plans to update the definition of librarian in the APM and will solicit public review, during which it will allow feedback from UC-AFT and the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC). The University proposed that we return to a 1980s-era definition and then update the contract later via a side letter after the APM is rewritten. We inquired about the timeline of this process, given that APM revisions can take months or years (the last time the APM definition was revamped, in 2016, the process took 2 years), and we hope to get more clarity at subsequent bargaining sessions this month.

The University proposed language to recognize librarians’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work in our academic reviews. This language mirrors APM 210-4, which governs review of Librarian Series appointees not covered by the union contract. 

Addressing cases of disagreements between peer reviewers and deciding officers as to whether a career status librarian is not performing satisfactorily, UC-AFT had proposed changes outlining the circumstances that call for a remediation plan. In addition, our proposal filled in detail on the remediation process to ensure career appointees receive feedback, support, and peer evaluation in addressing performance issues. On Friday, the University responded that it was uncomfortable with a remediation process that would include another peer review step, but generally accepted our proposal for remediation plans. The University also moved in our direction on abbreviated reviews, a streamlined option for librarians at the top of the Associate Librarian or Librarian ranks. 

Article 5 – Personnel Review Action Procedure

The University passed a counter to our February version of this article. We had proposed to limit circumstances for a University-initiated off-cycle review in order to maintain the integrity of the review cycle structure, but the University rejected those proposed protections. The University’s counter also sought to tighten the time period for a librarian under review to see and respond to their review initiator’s file. We will seek to ensure that librarians have a reasonable opportunity to evaluate and respond to their review materials. 

Upcoming Bargaining: May 14 at UCLA

Our next bargaining is planned for May 14 at the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA. U17 librarians and allies are welcome to join the team to observe bargaining.

We need all our members to continue to engage, communicate, and show your solidarity for bargaining. It was great to see the significant participation in both our recent mid-bargaining survey and U17-wide town hall. Through these actions, the table team is ensuring that the University is hearing from you about what is important!

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