Lecturers to reject latest UC contract

The University Council – American Federation of Teachers was given until sometime during the week of Oct. 28 to respond to an Oct. 23 formal settlement package made by the University of California that followed two days of contract negotiations.

The union has been negotiating with the University of California for two years over enhanced job security and a merit-based salary scale. In this latest offer, which the University of California values at $10 million to $12 million over the next three years, the salary minimums for pre-six-year lecturers was set at $35,868 and at $40,200 for post-six year lecturers for this year. Both minimums will rise by about 4 percent the following year.

UC Spokesperson Paul Schwartz said an extension was granted to the lecture’s union to give the union time to complete its review of the offer and construct a substantive response. The union was originally given until Oct. 25 to respond.

“”If they need a few more days to put together a full response, we’re happy to accommodate them,”” Schwartz said.

The University of California made the offer following negotiations on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 in Sacramento, Calif. A state mediator and a representative from the governor’s office facilitated the voluntary meeting.

Union officials said they will likely reject the offer because it fails to address some of the union’s key demands.

Fred Lonidier, president of Local 2034 University Council-American Federation of Teachers and a professor of visual arts at UCSD, called the latest UC offer “”completely unacceptable to the UC-AFT.””

“”What is unacceptable is the university has not addressed any of the major issues as I’m aware of,”” Lonidier said.

He said that although minor concessions were made by the university, the offer fails to address key components of the lecturer’s demands, including improved job security, a review policy of six- and three-year contract holders and the development of a salary scale rather than the current salary range.

Most UC lecturers are hired for an initial six-year probationary period. After this period, the university can choose whether or not to offer the lecturer a three-year renewable contract. UC-AFT maintains the renewal system is too arbitrary and does not provide job security.

If the latest offer is rejected, the negotiations move closer to having the California Public Employee Relations Board appoint a fact-finder and mediator to work with both parties.

Schwartz said the University of California hopes the current offer will bring an end to the contract negotiations, which are also pending between the Coalition of University Employees and the University of California.

“”In both cases, we’ve given them the best proposals we can and the ball’s in their court,”” he said. “”The idea is that they’ll each respond favorably and that we can conclude the negotiations.””

On Oct. 14 and Oct. 15, strikes led by UC-AFT and C.U.E. were held at five UC campuses in Davis, Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. At UCSD, UC-AFT and C.U.E. staged an “”informational rally”” on Oct. 15 to hand out flyers and show support for the strikes at the other campuses.

The University of California is also awaiting a response from an Oct. 14 offer sent to C.U.E. that represents nearly 18,000 clerical workers UC-wide. C.U.E. has until Oct. 31 to formally respond.