The University of California announced today (Nov. 15, 2013) that UC's 350 librarians have ratified a fair five-year contract that includes a new salary structure, health benefits and other working conditions.

The agreement is the culmination of 18 months of good faith negotiations between UC and the American Federation of Teachers. The contract runs through Oct. 31, 2018.

"We are pleased to have reached a fair and financially sustainable agreement with our librarians, who play an important role in our academic mission," UC Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine B. Duckett said. "The issues in these negotiations were complex, but the university and the union worked diligently and collaboratively to reach these fair terms."

Early this year, UC and the librarians' union reached a separate agreement on post-employment benefits, in which the librarians agreed to participate in the same reasonable pension changes that currently applies to 16 UC bargaining units and about 75,000 non-represented faculty and staff.

A new two-phase salary scale will provide increases for all librarians as early as this December, and give the university greater flexibility in terms of salaries to recruit and retain quality librarians:

  • The first phase, which is retroactive to Nov. 1, 2013, provides immediate wage adjustments averaging 2.7 percent across the salary scale. All librarians will receive an increase in this first phase.
  • In addition, the first phase sets step increases for assistant and associate librarians who receive a positive performance review at a uniform 5.5 percent. More senior librarians will receive uniform step increases of 8 percent. Before, increments varied across the steps.
  • The second phase, which begins July 1, 2014, replaces the step system with a new “salary point” system. It creates nine salary points for assistant librarians, 18 salary points for associate librarians, and 19 salary points for librarians. Librarians have the opportunity to move multiple salary points — not just one, as was the case under the old step system. Assistant or associate librarians with a positive performance review can move two or more salary points (equivalent to increase of at least 5.4 percent), and a more senior librarian can move three or more salary points (equivalent to increase of at least 8.1 percent).
  • This second phase gives the university more flexibility in compensating librarians who receive exceptional performance reviews. In addition, the broader salary scale gives the university greater flexibility in recruiting and retaining a quality staff.

Other highlights of the agreement include:

  • Excellent medical, dental and vision care at the same rates that the general UC employee population pays. The university will continue to cover the majority of health care costs.
  • Revised language regarding temporary librarians that specifies when a temporary employee becomes a career librarian.
  • Elimination of the "barrier step" and the Distinguished Librarian reference that is associated with this career-encompassing advancement. Removal of the "barrier step" allows more librarians to move to the top of the salary scale.
  • A five-year contract that provides opportunities in the fourth and fifth years for either UC or the union to reopen talks on two contract articles.

This is the second agreement UC has finalized with one of its unions in the last four weeks. On Oct. 22, the Federated University Police Officers Association representing 250 UC officers ratified a fair and responsible contract as well.