Bargaining – April 18 Update

Dear UAW 2865 Members,

Bargaining this week included some significant progress and some very significant delay. Our membership made it clear that this contract should deal with wages and family issues but also extend past previous contracts to include quality of education (by addressing the gap with competitors and class size) and anti-oppression in our workplace (through stronger non-discrimination measures and support for undocumented students).  On Tuesday, we realized one of these goals in a major way.  Here is a chart that summarizes our progress to date.

On Tuesday we settled on contract language that might be the first of its kind anywhere in the labor movement and collective bargaining agreements: guaranteed access to all-gender bathrooms for student-workers. In the fall, when we first proposed the non-discrimination language, management expressed deep skepticism. In response, activists across the state mobilized with petitions, testimonies in the open bargaining sessions, and helping draft proposals after this issue. After years of work from activists across the state, we are pleased to have finally won rights for access to all-gender bathrooms, a major step in making the university a safer and more accessible workplace.

The university came to the table hours late each day with the excuse that they had not yet written their proposals, which is surprising given that they had over two weeks to prepare since our previous meeting.  Oddly, on Wednesday they brought only one proposal, a revised grievance procedure, something we had clearly left off of the list of priorities when we met in the past weeks.

UC management refuses mediation
At times when management delays bargaining it can be useful to bring a third party to facilitate agreement. Given the recent escalation of polarization at the table and management’s unwillingness to bring counterproposals on nearly all of our core issues since December, this week we offered to bring a mediator to the bargaining table.  Instead, management argued that we were making progress and could settle it ourselves.  We will see.  We have a sidebar conversation scheduled for next week and an extended day of bargaining on April 28th  (after rejecting the previous 13 dates we offered, they proposed we start at 8am on the 28th and go into the night) .

For anyone who missed our latest press barrage, here is a recent radio interview and more press coverage.

How can you get involved with the UAW?
While we are displeased with management’s response to our efforts to improve the lives of graduate students, we are hopeful that with increased member participation in the bargaining process we can demonstrate that management must be prepared to offer real change if the UC is to continue to function as a world class, public university.  Thus far, when we take collective action, the UCs tend to change their positions.

Support student families.

Support equal academic and profesional opportunities for undocumented grad students.

Demand gender-neutral bathrooms.

Smaller class size petition

Rights for Research Assistants

We encourage your comments, participation, and questions. Please join us for our next sessions and ask your campus bargaining team members how to become more involved. If you can’t come to bargaining feel free to send your testimonials and comments you would like to share in bargaining to your campus leaders!

In solidarity,

Your UAW Bargaining Team