The University of California proposed a 26% pay increase for union workers on Feb. 22, increasing the lowest-paid union members’ wages by 47% over five years.

The University of California’s proposed contract will increase pay for union workers by 29%. Carolyn Yi/Daily Nexus

The UC’s proposed contract follows contract negotiations with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal (AFSCME) 3299, a UC-wide union with more than 32,000 workers. 

The proposal would increase the hourly minimum wage for all AFSCME members by $24 in 2025 and $25 in 2026. Each unit member will receive at least a 5% increase in 2025 after AFSCME’s interest in the UC to provide its employees with a $25 minimum wage. If the union accepts the offer, the contracts will expire in 2029, according to a UC press release.

“While the University is experiencing financial constraints, we are thrilled to be able to offer these significant wage increases to these employees, who bring invaluable support throughout the system,” UC associate vice president of Systemwide Employee and Labor Relations Missy Matella said in the press release. 

According to the press release, the union has been in contract negotiations since January, with semi-monthly ”good-faith” bargaining sessions at UC Riverside, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley. Worker contracts were last amended in 2020 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The newest proposals were presented to union leaders and members at a bargaining session in UC Berkeley on Feb.22. 

The University extended a “robust and substantial” offer from the outset to intentionally depart from “conventional negotiations that treat offers as a starting point.” The offer, the University said, intends to recognize the “critical work provided by AFSCME-represented employees.” 

“While we remain committed to good-faith negotiations, we recognize that uncertainty around contract negotiations adds unnecessary stress to our workers,” Matella said in the press release. “By presenting robust and meaningful proposals, which are designed to address the union’s requests, this early in the bargaining process, we want these members to know that our commitment to them is serious.” 

AFSCME 3299 has organized several rally efforts across the UC campuses since last year to increase their presence on campus and voice their contract demands to the university administration. Its bargaining unit represents UC Service workers (SX) of 10,641 employees, and UC Patient Care Technical (EX) employees of 21,059 employees. 

“The world has shifted dramatically, and so have the lives of our members. We understand their challenges, particularly the rising cost of living in California. We want to recognize their evolving contributions, value their dedication, and provide an economic proposal that helps address some of the real financial burdens they carry,” Matella said. 

The Nexus will continue reporting on this topic as more information becomes available.

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Lizzy Rager
Lizzy Rager (she/her) is the Assistant News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. She can be reached at lizzyrager@dailynexus.com