The American Federation of Teachers and UC Office of the President reached a tentative three-year agreement on Tuesday to secure benefits and merit-based wages for more than 350 librarians throughout the University of California system.
The agreement is the result of three months of negotiations and will go into effect on Oct. 15 and last through Sept. 30, 2014, if ratified by the AFT. The University system has also been engaged in discussions with its 3,000 lecturers since February, hoping to reach a settlement by mid-October.
According to Davidson Library Subject Librarian Sally Willson Weimer, the new conditions are necessary to prevent institutional brain drain.
“Librarians have not had a cost-of-living or salary increase for about six years,” Weimer said. “It has been very difficult. Two years ago, we had layoffs and furloughs and some of the librarians had 6, 7, 8 or even 9 percent furloughs — that was very difficult. Librarians had been bargaining for salary increases — it has gone on for months.”
The lecturers’ agreement includes post-employment retirement and health care equivalent to tenured faculty as well as merit-based salary provisions.
According to UC-AFT President Bob Samuels, lecturers would also receive a 3 percent raise and can only receive layoff notices if their classes are being terminated.
Although budget constraints are pushing UC employees with more vulnerable positions toward alternative forms of instruction, such as online classes, Samuels said the AFT ensures their professional standing does not suffer.
“It’s a way of trying to make sure that when [lecturers] move toward online education they are getting quality instruction that they need and people’s jobs are protected,” Samuels said.
Lecturers are faculty members who demonstrate a certain expertise in their field of study, but do not have the same job or tenure security as a professor.
The AFT bargaining unit contains 25 UCSB staff members who are given the opportunity to approve or disapprove the ratification vote.
UCOP Spokesperson Dianne Klein said the University strives to works closely with such panels to ensure adequate compensation for its employees.
“The University is constantly in collective bargaining and negotiations,” Klein said. “We have 12 labor unions — they come up periodically, and [they] work together to form agreements.”
To clarify, there are about 25 UC-AFT represented librarians at UCSB, and 350 systemwide that will benefit from this contract.
Lecturers have a separate bargaining unit, with roughly 250 teaching at UCSB in a given quarter, and probably close to 400 individuals throughout the year. Systemwide, UC employs close to 5000 lecturers in a given year.