UC Settles Dispute with T.A. Union

    A heated six-month discourse ended last week between the University of California and a labor union representing academic student employees, which agreed to a two-year labor contract that would provide workers with improved wages, health care and benefits, and put an end to threats of a strike.

    Tensions between United Auto Workers Local 2865 and the university erupted last month, when the UAW filed dozens of unfair labor practice charges against the UC system for allegedly stalling and obstructing negotiations for a new and improved contract for teaching assistants and readers, among other employees. The union threatened the university with a strike if a mutual agreement was not met by Sept. 30, the expiration of the prior labor contract.

    The agreement is a relief to UAW and UC bargaining teams, as well as the approximate 12,000 academic student employees directly affected by the new labor contract.

    Negotiation proceedings had been fraught with shared feelings of frustration, tension and exhaustion. The preceding contract between the two parties had expired at 12 a.m. on Oct. 1, and efforts to reach a new agreement resulted in hour-by-hour time extensions well into the morning.

    “Negotiations were difficult, grueling, exhausting,” UC Santa Barbara graduate student and UAW negotiating team member Daraka Larimore-Hall said. “As you can see, the [UAW] bargaining team went until 2 a.m. after the expired time.”

    However, the prolonged hours of negotiation yielded what both sides are calling positive results.

    According to Larimore-Hall, the bargaining teams emerged from negotiation proceedings content with the new contract and confident of its future ratification by union vote.

    “We’re very happy with the agreement that was reached,” Larimore-Hall said.

    UC Office of the President spokeswoman Nicole Savickas expressed a similar optimism.

    “I can’t speculate on how it will be received by the representative employees but our bargaining team was very pleased as well as the UAW,” she said.

    The union’s demands achieved its goal of providing greater economic and noneconomic security for its members. Its other concerns include the lack of health coverage options available for academic student employees with families.

    The new contract may help graduate students cope with a recent increase in UC graduate school tuition — a minimum of 7 percent each year for the next three years — which was approved by the UC committees on educational policy and finance last month.

    “A long, tough and exhausting process has come to an end,” bargaining team member Carol Wheeler said in a press release.

    UAW members plan to ratify the agreement by vote on Oct. 9.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal