Students and professors support non-tenured faculty
Professors and students show support for UC non-tenured faculty. Image from UC-AFT Facebook page

Non-tenured professors, lecturers and other faculty members reached what they’re calling a historic five-year agreement with the University of California, averting a planned two-day walkout that was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

The University Council-American Federation of Teachers was planning a walkout at all nine UC campuses, including UC San Diego, in a dispute over several labor issues that has lasted more than two years.

Instead, the two sides tentatively agreed to a contract covering more than 6,500 employees that “revolutionizes the first six years of a lecturers career at the UC,” according to a release from the UC-AFT.

The agreement includes:

— A transition plan providing job stability provisions that will take effect beginning July 1, 2022.

— Job stability with multi-year appointments in the first six years, with reviews before reappointment and the right to be reappointed if deemed effective.

— A pathway to apply to become a senior continuing lecturer.

— Specific and transparent performance review criteria.

— A $1,500 signing bonus upon ratification and 3% annual salary increments.

— Expanded eligibility for paid medical leave to all bargaining unit faculty.

— Increased support for members with children to fully paid leave of four weeks.

— Expanded retirement and health benefits for summer sessions lecturers.

— Professional development funding.

“The University is proud of the dedication and commitment to harmonious labor relations both sides demonstrated to achieve a fair deal that honors our lecturers and prioritizes the University’s instructional mission,” said Letitia Silas, UC’s executive director for systemwide labor relations.

UC-AFT President Mia McIver called the agreement “a landmark and transformative achievement. This is the best contract in UC-AFT history and, we believe, among the best for contingent faculty nationwide. We are pleased with how the parties have come together to reach an agreement emphasizing the importance of the role lecturers play at the University.”

UC President Michael Drake praised the agreement at Wednesday’s meeting of the UC Board of Regents.

“This is a very positive development for our entire community, especially the students that we serve,” Drake said. “This contract honors the vital role our lecturers play in supporting UC’s educational mission and delivering high quality instruction and education. It also means more job security and other important benefits for our valued lecturers. It’s a good agreement all around.”

The agreement must still be voted on by union members before it goes into effect. A ratification vote is expected to begin later this week.

The UC-AFT — which is affiliated with the California Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers — represents lecturers and adjunct professors hired on a yearly or quarterly basis, as well as librarians and some other employees.

Before the agreement, the union said it has filed seven unfair labor practice charges with the California Public Employees Relations Board over the last 20 months. They accused Drake’s administration of failing to bargain in good faith over a handful of issues, including eligibility for a paid family leave policy.

The UC countered that the unfair labor practice claims were “neither supported by the facts nor any finding by the California Public Employment Relations Board.”

With the walkout canceled, UC-AFT leadership planned noontime rallies at the UC campuses Wednesday to celebrate the tentative deal.

A noon celebration was planned at the Gilman Parking Structure at UCSD.

Updated at 12: 30 p.m. Nov. 17, 2021

–City News Service