University of California (UC) lecturers called off strike plans after coming to tentative agreements with UC administration regarding job stability, workload and compensation in the early morning on Nov 17. In solidarity with lecturers across the entire UC system, UCI lecturers planned to embark on a two-day strike outside of Aldrich Hall against the unfair labor practices of the UC, creating a work stoppage that would have halted instruction for thousands of students.
“We reached a resolution to the 2 Unfair Labor Practices that prompted our strike authorization. UC mgmt bargained in good faith, and our Board has accordingly canceled the strike called for 11/18 and 11/19. Classes are expected to proceed without disruption today and Thursday,” The University Council – American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) tweeted.
UC lecturers have no guarantee of reappointment per term, and they can be let go by the University at any time. Their current contracts do not contain language that lecturers find specific and binding enough to provide job stability. UC-AFT had been in negotiations with UC for a new contract since April 2019. The two parties had been in mediation since July 9, 2021. The tentative agreement between UC-AFT and UC includes new contracts and conditions that address many of these concerns.
“@UCAFT just won multi-year contracts for all @UofCalifornia lecturers after their 1st year of teaching, rehiring rights, 20% raises over the next 4 years, and a $1,500 signing bonus! Incredible statement about the power of workers when they organize and threaten to strike!” Trevor Griffey, a history department lecturer with continuing appointment at UCI, tweeted.
In place of the strike, lecturers across the UC System will be holding victory rallies at noon in the respective places they would have picketed.
In mid-October, UCI lecturers picketed in front of Aldrich Hall in solidarity with lecturers at the other UCs to raise awareness for these issues, as well as to gain support and solidarity from students.
At the time, UC had just stepped out of their behind-closed-doors mediation to share a letter with UC-AFT members which detailed a five-year contract that had not been agreed upon through the mediation process.
UC President Michael Drake sent a letter to Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment and Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) regarding the status of mediation and negotiations with UC-AFT on Oct. 26.
UC-AFT found these letters to be in violation of UC labor law, and they filed an “Unfair Practice Charge” against the Regents of the UC under the jurisdiction of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA) on Nov. 10.
In total, UC-AFT has filed seven of these charges against UC in the last 20 months. They called the strike after “UC management’s pattern of bad faith.”
UC-AFT gave notice of the strike to UC on Nov. 13, three days after filing the charge, following legal advice to provide a 72-hour notice of their plan to strike. This would have been the first strike called into play since the UC-AFT voted to authorize a strike with a 96% majority on June 2.
Dhanika Pineda is the Managing Editor for the 2021-2022 school year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.