SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Unemployed professors, lecturers and some other faculty members at the nine universities in California’s campuses are planning a strike on Wednesday and Thursday in a dispute over several work issues that has lasted more than two years.
The University Council-American Federation of Teachers says they have filed seven allegations of unfair work practices with the California Public Employees Relations Board over the past 20 months. They accuse UC President Michael Drake’s administration of failing to negotiate in good faith on a handful of issues, including a paid family leave policy.
UC-AFT represents lecturers and adjunct professors employed on an annual or quarterly basis, as well as librarians.
According to the union, UC’s family leave policy would provide eight weeks of paid leave for some employees to care for a seriously ill family member or bond with a new child. But the eligibility limit excludes thousands of teachers, the majority of whom teach part-time and are more likely to be women and relatives than their permanent colleagues, the union says.
The union claims that the UC management initially said the new program was the subject of collective bargaining, but later stated that they would not negotiate.
Other problems include:
– additional compensation for online teaching and essential teaching materials;
Settlement conditions after unlawful withholding of the employer’s pension contribution;
The effects of layoffs at UC Davis; and
– the effects of COVID conditions on primary school teachers represented by UC-AFT.
The dismissal could affect classes at UC San Diego, where officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UC issued a statement saying: “The University of California is disappointed with UC-AFT’s decision to pursue a two-day strike – withholding tuition is grossly unfair to our students, and a strike does not move us any closer to a contract.
“The union’s allegations of unfair work practices against UC are not supported by any facts or any conclusion of the California Public Employment Relations Board,” according to the university.
According to UC, on October 11, the university’s union negotiators presented a “comprehensive proposal” that included significant wage increases, an improved employment system with more teacher stability, evaluations for pre-six teachers at the end of each employment period, greater transparency in job expectations and mechanisms to deal with workload issues.
Ryan King, associate director of media relations for the UC president’s office, told City News Service on Tuesday that officials have since improved this offer, offering, among other things, four weeks’ leave at 100% of the salary of all members of the bargaining unit, incl. for those members who may not be entitled to the family’s sick leave policy.
“We continue to meet with union leaders in good faith… with the aim of reaching a fair five-year agreement. This latest round of negotiations follows two and a half years of negotiations and a mediation period,” according to UC.
The two sides held talks all day on Tuesday.
The union invited students to join the strike and asked its members who teach at a distance to disable access to their website on Wednesday and Thursday.
UC-AFT is affiliated with the California Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.
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