Bargaining Update: Little Movement from Management Over Last Two Bargaining Sessions

Bargaining Update:
The bargaining team and members have just finished three long days of bargaining in the past week and we have seen very little movement on management’s part. We met with Management last Thursday and Friday in Berkeley and yesterday in Los Angeles.
In these sessions, we very clearly laid out our priorities for the contract as a whole, which in case you need a refresher, includes the wage gap between us and competitor institutions (3-5,000/year), a voice in class size discussions, opportunities for undocumented students, better leave policies, improved childcare support, and non-discrimination issues (lactation and gender neutral bathrooms).  However, very little in the way of concrete work was accomplished.
Thursday’s bargaining session was a case study in sluggishness.  After agreeing to discuss nearly every major issue in our campaign, management came prepared to share proposals on only non-discrimination and undocumented issues.
The one area in which there was some real movement was the non-discrimination article, especially gender neutral bathrooms.  However, as we got close to an agreement, one which incidentally would be rarely seen, perhaps never before, in a labor contract, management spent much of the past two days working through a few sentences.  Currently, they are refusing to agree to language that might provide real protections, but we are optimistic that we will reach agreement shortly that will be both substantial and historic.
By contrast, their undocumented students support proposal was astonishing for it’s lack of content. Over the past 6 months we have proposed that the UCs model our program to provide undocumented students with secure funding after existing fellowships and internships on several campuses.  Yet, their proposal ignored our suggestions and offered a series of platitudes, commitments to care deeply about the issue, but absolutely nothing in the way of actual procedure or policy. We declined their offer and revisited our previous demands, which management claims to have misunderstood. They are now reviewing our previous proposal.

Noting management’s slow pace, we have requested and offered several bargaining dates through the last two months and into the coming future. Thus far management has only agreed to April 15-16 and April 28-30.

How can I 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.
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