University employees reject most recent labor contract

    The University Council-American Federation of Teachers and the Coalition of University Employees both rejected the most recent contract offers made by the University of California in October.

    Both unions said the university’s proposals did not address any of their primary demands, and as a result, each will respond with counterproposals.

    C.U.E., which represents 18,000 UC clerical workers, rejected the university’s Oct. 10 settlement proposal on the Oct. 31 deadline that would have given the union a 2 percent salary increase, followed by a 1.5 percent cost of living increase thereafter. The union continues to ask for a 15 percent salary pay increase to bring its wages on par with what it says comparable workers make in the private sector.

    The university said its offer was on the same level of salary increases that other staff employees are receiving.

    UC-AFT, which represents about 4,000 UC lecturers, rejected an Oct. 23 proposal by the university, calling the proposal a “”take it or leave it”” offer in an Oct. 30 statement and said it failed to address their main demands.

    In the offer, which the university valued 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. In the proposal, both minimums would rise by about 4 percent the following year.

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

    A brief Nov. 1 statement by the University of California said the university was “”disappointed”” by UC-AFT’s rejection and is open to meeting with the union and hearing counter proposals. The statement also said that “”the substance of what the union offers and just how much they’re willing to compromise will determine a great deal in terms of where we go from here.””

    UC-AFT said the latest offer failed to address any of its primary concerns, primarily enhanced job security and a merit-based salary scale.

    Fred Lonidier, president of Local 2034 UC-AFT and a professor of visual arts at UCSD, said his union will file an unfair labor practices charge against the university.

    “”Normally when you say ‘good faith,’ you come back and bargain,”” Lonidier said.

    He and his union maintain that the University of California’s latest offer was not a bona fide effort at negotiations.

    “”They never [bargained]. They’ve never said no; they’ve certainly never said yes,”” Lonidier said. “”That means they’re not bargaining. You can’t just not address it.””

    Lonidier said if negotiations continue to be fruitless for both parties, the university or union could declare an impasse in the proceedings that will trigger a fact-finding investigation by the Public Employee Relations Board.

    Following the investigation, the State Mediation and Conciliation Service of the Department of Industrial Relations is contacted to assign a mediator. If the two parties are still unable to reach an agreement, either party may request the implementation of statutory fact-finding procedures.

    C.U.E. has been in contract negotiations with the University of California for over a year and a half, and UC-AFT has been in negotiations for nearly two years.

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