Dear Colleague:

As a follow-up to my letter to you last month, I write to provide you another update about our negotiations with the UC-AFT on a new contract for you and your colleagues.

Let me begin by acknowledging the hard work of both UC and the union during what has been a long and arduous journey, especially during these unprecedented times. I also want to reiterate the university’s sincere appreciation for the critical role you and your colleagues play in teaching our students and advancing UC’s education mission.

For more than two years, UC has bargained in good faith with the UC-AFT. Throughout negotiations, UC has listened with an open mind to the concerns raised by the union, and offered proposals that we believe are fair and equitable, and have demonstrated genuine responsiveness to the issues, including those the union has identified as its top priorities: compensation, job stability, and workload. 

In July, UC and the union began confidential mediation facilitated by a state-appointed mediator in the hopes of reaching an agreement. The University has engaged in the mediation process in good faith, and with a commitment to reaching an agreement. Unfortunately, we still have been unable to reach an agreement.

We want to share with you the key elements of our most recent package proposal to the union, which was made as a formal proposal to the union outside of mediation. We believe strongly that you and your bargaining unit colleagues deserve the opportunity to vote on it.

Below is a summary of UC’s current proposal for a five-year contract, designed to address key issues and allow us to better support all of our Lecturers while strengthening our academic enterprise.

Compensation

UC is currently ranked among the top three public Association of American Universities (AAUs) for how well it compensates its Lecturers. Consistent with that commitment, UC is offering the following:

  • Raising minimum salaries by approximately 5% for all pre-six Lecturers currently appointed at the entry salary rate by eliminating the lowest two salary points, plus
  • Annual salary increases of 3% for all bargaining unit members for the term of the contract, plus
  • An average 1.3% salary increase to the entire bargaining unit in the first year of the contract due to UC transitioning from a salary range to a salary scale, plus
  • Raising the minimum and maximum salary range for Supervisors of Teacher Education by moving them to the Lecturer salary scale.
  • A one-time contract ratification incentive payment of $500 for all bargaining unit members, following an agreement.
  • Net effect: All bargaining unit faculty would receive an average wage increase of 4.3% (with many members receiving 4.5-5.5% increases) and a contract ratification incentive payment of $500 within the first year of the contract, and annual wage increases of 3% for subsequent years of the contract. Additionally, the lowest-paid Lecturers would receive approximately an 8% increase to their base pay and $500 in a lump sum ratification incentive payment.
  • Also, when a Continuing Lecturer is promoted to Senior Continuing Lecturer, they would receive a mandatory one-time 9% increasein addition to their 3% annual salary scale increase, for a total pay increase of 12% at the time of promotion.
  • The above pay increases would be in addition to the 6% or greater increases Continuing Lecturers currently receive every three years for meritorious performance and 3% increases for Pre-Six Lecturers following every reappointment.

Employment stability

UC is similar to other universities in its use of term-by-term appointments for Pre-Six Lecturers. However, UC is unique in that it provides for Continuing Appointments (appointments with no end date) after six years — UC is one of only two public AAUs in the nation that provide this level of employment stability to Lecturers.

In order to increase job stability for Pre-Six Lecturers, UC has offered an appointment proposal that significantly enhances job stability for Pre-Six Lecturers as follows:

  • Initial appointment: One-year appointment;
  • Second appointment: Two-year appointments with the same appointment percentage in each year;
  • Third appointment: Three-year appointments that, with limited exceptions, will generally have the same appointment percentage guaranteed in each year of the three-years.

All Pre-Six Lecturers on two-year or three-year appointments would be guaranteed an academic review at the end of the appointment, and held to a reasonable standard of "teaching effectiveness" for that review. Provided that instructional need exists and a Pre-Six Lecturer receives a positive review, reappointment of a Pre-Six Lecturer is likely. When a Pre-Six Lecturer is reappointed following a positive review, a 3% merit increase will be provided; this is in addition to the annual increase to the salary scale. In the event UC does not reappoint an “effective” Pre-Six Lecturer, written justification will be provided. 

Additional enhancements for Continuing Appointments:

  • In addition to the above, a Pre-Six Lecturer can count Summer Session courses toward eligibility for a Continuing Appointment under certain circumstances, thus advancing the timeline under which a Pre-Six Lecturer may achieve Continuing Lecturer status.
  • Further, UC is proposing a career path from a Continuing Lecturer to Senior Continuing Lecturer that includes enhanced reemployment rights and a longer notice period in the event of a layoff.

Workload

  • In response to concerns raised over Lecturer workload, UC has proposed greater transparency and fair assessment of workload assignments, including posting workload requirements by discipline on campus websites, and creating a labor-management committee to address concerns about workload.  

Other highlights of UC’s proposal

Specific and transparent performance review criteria: We believe that strengthening our review criteria for Lecturers will strengthen their performance in the classroom. UC has heard the union’s concerns about performance review criteria and procedures. In response, UC has proposed more specific review criteria and transparent standards for the excellence review, merit review, and the promotional review to Senior Continuing Lecturer.

Timely and more specific appointment letters: To address concerns about the timing of appointment letters, UC has offered to provide appointment letters by a date certain. In addition, the appointment letters will have increased specificity, including regarding pay amounts and pay periods.

Expanded eligibility for paid medical leave: Currently, paid medical leave is extended to bargaining unit employees with 100% appointments. As of September 2021, UC has proposed extending it to all bargaining unit faculty with appointments of 66% or greater.

Increased support for unit members with children: UC is offering to increase support for Lecturers with children as follows:

  • Currently, UC allows for a reduction in normal duties for up to two quarters/two semesters as a part of active service-modified duties, so a bargaining unit employee can prepare for and/or care for a newborn child or a child newly placed for adoption or foster care. UC has proposed to increase the allowed time for reduced duties from two to three quarters.
  • Increase paid childbearing leave from 6 weeks to 8 weeks.
  • The child age of eligibility requirement for Active Service-Modified Duties has been removed.
  • UC recently opted to include bargaining unit faculty as eligible employees for participation in the new program for UC employees who take leave from work for family care and bonding, providing 70% of pay for 8 weeks. This was offered outside of the bargaining process and as a good faith gesture to our bargaining unit faculty colleagues.

Expanded retirement and health benefits for Summer Session Lecturers: UC is proposing to expand retirement and health benefits for Summer Session Lecturers:

  • Summer session earnings for eligible Lecturers will count toward contributions made by UC and the Lecturer to UC's Tax-Deferred 403 (b) Retirement Plan.
  • UC has proposed to pay the UC employer portion of the health benefits premium during the time an eligible Summer Session Lecturer is on pay status.

Stronger health and safety provisions: To help support Lecturers’ well-being during emergency situations, such as the COVID pandemic, UC has proposed a new Health, Safety and Emergency Conditions contract provision, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of UC and Lecturers in the event an emergency is declared.

Professional development funding: UC understands how important professional development is to one’s career and is offering (1) to carry over a substantial portion of unused professional development funds and, (2) to increase the contribution amount into the annual pool from $200 per FTE to $250 per FTE.

We believe an agreement is long overdue. As valued members of the UC community, we believe you and your colleagues deserve the stability of a multi-year contract that recognizes your essential role in UC’s instructional mission, and the chance to vote on our proposal. We believe that our package proposal addresses your concerns around compensation, job stability, and workload. The union can provide additional details of what we believe is a very good proposal.

We will continue to work hard to achieve a fair contract as quickly as possible, and we will keep you informed about our efforts.

Kind Regards, 

Letitia Silas
Executive Director
Systemwide Labor Relations