Librarians, UC reach agreement

    The University of California and the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, which represents librarians, ratified a three-year labor contract on Nov. 13 after reaching tentative agreements in September.

    In March, the two bargaining teams met to discuss negotiation ground rules and submitted proposals. Official bargaining for new terms in the contract began in April, approximately two months prior to the expiration of the old contract. The two bargaining teams met with a state mediator in September to try to conclude negotiations.

    “”We did make some gains Š It’s a continual struggle to improve the working conditions of the librarians,”” said Miki Goral, UC-AFT’s chief negotiator and a reference librarian at UCLA.

    A clause on salary adjustments equal to those provided for nonrepresented academic employees was added to the contract, but it was different than the union’s original proposal. There will be a joint committee between the two parties that will meet monthly to discuss librarian salary compensation.

    Newly added terms of principal investigator status, which were among the union’s requests, was a significant gain. The principal investigator section allows librarians or researchers who apply for grants to be their own principal investigator and not require applicants to find an Academic Senate sponsorship.

    However, the university rejected the union’s bid for automatic emeritus status for librarians after retirement. Librarians who retire after 10 years of service will receive benefits equivalent to non-Senate emeriti, such as access to campus housing assistance, reduced parking fees, active e-mail accounts and facility access.

    “”The university, as well as UC lecturers, service workers, clerical employees and now the librarians all agree that these provisions cover the standards needed,”” UC spokesman Paul Schwartz said.

    The university gained ground with a ban on sympathy strikes included in the contract. Sympathy strikes are protests by workers to support the cause of another striking group. UC librarians have the right to participate in activities, but only on personal nonwork time.

    “”[Giving up sympathy strikes] was something that was difficult to do,”” Goral said. “”It does not mean that we cannot support the activities of the other unions. It just means that we can not withhold labor.””

    A new provision introduced the idea of hourly intermittent librarians. This section creates the job title of “”substitute librarian”” and allows the university to hire librarians on an hourly basis.

    The leave of absence article was also updated to include “”domestic partner”” as a legal definition of family members. Also, a new “”catastrophic leave”” program will allow people to donate vacation time to colleagues who are going through health crises. The new contract will be effective through Aug. 30, 2006.

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