The University of California has proposed a comprehensive contract for its 11,000 academic student employees that includes wage increases, larger childcare reimbursements and a more generous leave policy.

UC's offer to academic student employees, such as teaching assistants, readers and tutors, includes the following:

  • 4.5 percent in wage increases over three years. The first wage increase would go into effect when the contract is ratified and would not be retroactive.
  • 25 percent increased reimbursements to help employees pay for childcare through the Childcare Reimbursement Program
  • Increases to leave time for family-related leaves
  • Paid health insurance through UCSHIP/GSHIP when an employee is on pregnancy leave for up to four months, as long as it does not exceed the employee's appointment end date.

The United Auto Workers, which represents academic student employees, has countered with a proposal for "competitive" wages based on recommendations from the Academic Council's Competitiveness Report. However, the UAW's wage proposal does not specify a percentage or dollar amount for the wages it seeks. And the Competitiveness Report was incomplete and did not include salaries for comparable jobs at competitor institutions.

While the university shares the goal of ensuring UC remains competitive, the UAW's wage proposal is vague, ambiguous and fails to move negotiations forward in a constructive manner. For example, because the UAW's proposal does not include the salaries of the comparators it wants the university to match, there is no way for the university to determine the estimated cost of the UAW's proposal. Rather than facilitate a resolution, the UAW's proposal tends to slow the process down.

Since negotiations began June 27, 2013, the university has bargained in good faith to reach a fair contract. The university is disappointed the union has chosen to focus on social justice issues that are not a central part of an employment contract such as free speech holidays and sabbaticals. UC is urging the UAW to present clear contract proposals on the key issues so the two sides can move efficiently toward an agreement.

The last contract expired on Sept. 30, 2013 and was extended until Oct. 4, 2013. The university and union are planning additional bargaining sessions.

The university is committed to reaching a multi-year contract that supports student employees for the service they provide in support of UC's education and public service missions.