After a year of deliberation, three days of strikes and dozens of complaints to the state’s labor board, two unions and the University of California have not agreed on contracts.
On Oct. 31 the Coalition of University Employees rejected the UC Office of the President’s Oct. 10 final contract proposal. University Council-American Federation of Teachers rejected the final offer presented to it by UCOP the same week.
UCSB writing lecturer Bob Samuels said UC-AFT rejected the proposal because UCOP failed to meet some of the union’s key demands. UC-AFT wants part-time lecturers to have salary increases re-coupled with the senate faculty, more job security and the option of arbitration when the University fires employees.
“[The proposal] stipulates clearly that basically at any time the university can replace long-term faculty with graduate students and new faculty just because they’re cheaper,” Samuels said.
UCOP is currently waiting for counterproposals from the unions. Each union has a meeting with UCOP tentatively scheduled in November. The University and CUE are scheduled to meet on Nov. 13 and 14 in Riverside. UC-AFT is set to meet with the University during the week of Nov. 18.
According to a UCOP press release, wages remain the key point in negotiations. UC claims it has offered clerical employees the same level of salary increases that other staff employees are receiving, but the union wants higher raises for clerical workers. UCOP proposed a 1.5 percent salary increase to CUE this year, but CUE is asking for a 15 percent increase over the next two years.
CUE Local President Debbie Ceder said they want to continue negotiations once they get information from UC concerning wage surveys and fund commitments.
“We’re not yet at [an] impasse,” Ceder said. “We’re hoping to sit down and actually negotiate with them.”
Fred Glass, California Federation of Teachers’ Communications Director, said if UCOP does not meet their demands another strike might be organized.
Members of CUE and UC-AFT went on strike from Oct. 14 to 16 at several UC campuses to protest UC’s alleged unfair bargaining tactics. The unions claim UCOP has participated in bad-faith bargaining and have made over 25 complaints with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) in the last year.
UCOP in turn has made complaints with PERB charging the unions with unfair labor practices, saying the strikes were illegal. PERB will hold a hearing concerning the legality of the strikes.
If PERB finds that the unions struck illegally, the University has the option of suing the unions, said UC spokesman Paul Schwartz.
“The University’s intent is not to punish employees,” Schwartz said, “but to settle the strikes.”