Lecturers rally for new contract

UCSD lectures rallied in the Price Center and then marched to the chancellor’s office May 30 to express their displeasure with their current contract.

Lyon Liew

For two years, the lecturers claim, the University of California has been bargaining in bad faith, forcing them to pursue alternative means of communicating their complaints. The lecturers’ main complaints are the salary system that does not take into account seniority or performance, little job security, and extended negotiability in the contract.

Lecturers are nontenure-track instructors, who are not assistant, associate or full-time professors. They have the specific function of teaching classes. They are hired for one quarter or a series of quarters to teach classes.

Both sides agree that lecturers teach about half of UC classes. UCSD employs fewer lecturers than the UC average.

The current dispute began two years ago, when the previous contract expired.

In recent months, outside mediation from the governor’s office has been brought to assist negotiations between the University of California and the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, which represents the lecturers.

During the rally, in which more than two dozen lecturers participated in, Danielle Michaelis, a lecturer and freelance photographer, condemned the university for the lecturers’ lack of job security and lack of continuity, and accused the university of favoring research over teaching.

After Michaelis presented her experience, several representatives from other unions spoke out in support of the American Federation of Teachers, the union representation the lecturers, and its demands on the university.

At the rally, Carolan Buckmaster, the president of the Union of Professional and Technical Employees, and Mark Warshaw, an eighth-year graduate student and AFT member, both pledged the support of their unions in working together for a better contract.

Michael Melman, director of labor relations at UCSD, rejected the lecturers’ claims that the university has been unfair.

“”The university has made a comprehensive proposal,”” he said. “”We’ve made good-faith negotiations.””

The university is working on a proposal that would provide merit increases and job security that would elevate the status of lecturers after they work for six years. That proposal would allow for three-year contracts, possibly replacing quarter-by-quarter contracts for lecturers, Melman said.