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News for lecturers and librarians working at the University of California. 

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UC-AFT President Mia McIver

Retrospective: Organizing to win in tumultuous times
Reflecting on five years of union gains for UC librarians and lecturers

By Mia McIver, President, University Council-AFT

When I was elected president of University Council-AFT in 2017, I never could have predicted that the next five years would be as tumultuous as they turned out to be. I also could never have foreseen how our union of University of California lecturers and librarians would organize, build power, win contracts, and accomplish gains that far exceeded my hopes and expectations.

Union Yes graphic!

Faculty at Pasadena ArtCenter College of Design choose AFT/CFT as their union
Talents of design teachers shine during successful union campaign

The nearly 700 part-time and full-time faculty at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena now comprise CFT’s newest local union in the Federation’s recent surge of organizing victories among private sector universities.

The ArtCenter faculty voted to form a union with AFT/CFT with 60% of those participating in the mail election voting in favor of the union. The National Labor Relations Board counted union recognition ballots June 21 in Los Angeles.

Article lecturers
Trevor Griffey in a planning groupCFT President Jeff Freitas with Trevor GriffeyIris Ruiz

Two higher education activists join UC-AFT leadership
First woman of color and first labor historian

In a history-making move, the University Council-AFT is taking steps to expand representation in its leadership. Two new vice presidents have been elected, both of whom are contingent faculty from campuses that have not previously been represented — UC Merced and UC Irvine. Iris Ruiz, from Merced, is the first woman of color to serve on the UC-AFT Executive Board. Trevor Griffey is the first labor historian; he also has a pre-continuing and intermittent appointment.

Part-timers and allies lobby legislators for healthcare, pay parity
PHOTO GALLERY
Students and full-time faculty join forces with part-time faculty

From the Bay Area to San Diego, and from the Central Valley to the Mojave Desert, part-time community college faculty, along with full-time faculty and student allies, gathered at Sacramento’s famed Sutter Club on Monday morning, May 1, to go forth and make California legislators aware of the critical need for part-time faculty healthcare and pay parity.

Article part-time faculty PT campaign

Part-Time Faculty Conference empowers through learning
PHOTO GALLERY
Workshops focus on bargaining, lobbying, organizing, diversity, communications

When it comes to union work, power and knowledge work hand in hand. Union is not simply about expressing demands, speaking truth to power, and being resolute in the face of adversity. It’s about making connections, sharing truths, building solidarity, empowering, and speaking to be heard.

Developing the knowledge to do these things and putting the power of that knowledge to use was core to the workshops at the CFT Part-Time Faculty Conference held May 1-2 in Sacramento.

Article part-time faculty PT campaign
conference group shot

Part-time faculty power up for change
PHOTO GALLERY
Conference spotlights CFT equity campaign for contingent faculty

A crowd of more than 100 members strong — some seasoned part-timers with decades of experience, others new adjuncts for which this was their first union event — were engaged as the CFT Part-Time Faculty Conference opened to roars and cheers with its theme of “Equity for Contingent Faculty.” The feeling one had as a part-timer was best summed up by Lin Chan, co-chair of the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee, “You’re not one person…you’re one of thousands.”

Faculty at Dominican University group shot

Faculty at Dominican University choose AFT/CFT as their union
With resounding 84% vote, faculty elect to have union representation

On April 11, faculty at the Dominican University of California watched excitedly as the National Labor Relations Board in San Francisco conducted a ballot count resulting in a resounding 84% yes vote for union representation with the AFT/CFT.

The new local union — the Dominican University of California Faculty Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 6604 — will represent 103 full-time faculty members at the private liberal arts college in San Rafael. The university was founded in 1890 and offers more than 60 majors, minors, and concentrations.

Article part-time faculty
HELU Winter SummittHigher Ed Labor United logo

HELU Winter Summit unites efforts across unions
Promotes socio-economic and racial justice in higher education

HELU, or Higher Education Labor United, a cross-union and cross-sector coalition, held its Winter Summit virtually on February 23-27, pushing forward with the larger goals of reclaiming the promise of higher education, and promoting socio-economic and racial justice embodied by the New Deal for Higher Education campaign and Scholars for a New Deal in Higher Education.

Article AFT part-time faculty PT campaign

New AFT report shows pandemic wreaked havoc on nation’s adjunct faculty
Transition to remote learning, impact of virus lead to declines in job security, increased reliance on public assistance

WASHINGTON — A new national adjunct faculty survey from the AFT underlines the brutal economic reality faced by millions of contingent and adjunct faculty at the nation’s colleges and universities — and illustrates how the pandemic further eroded job security and bolstered the need for public help.

Article student debt
Jessica Saint-Paul at work Peter Huk is a lecturer of writing at UC Santa Barbara Kristi Jacobson at her classroom door

What does gratitude look like? Find out from three members deep in student debt
How AFT’s legal victory with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will change lives

In 2018, Jessica Saint-Paul, who has a doctorate in medical science and teaches public health and health occupation courses at Southwest and Trade Tech colleges, attended a benefits conference put on by her local, the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild. They covered Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a federal program that promised if you worked in public service for 10 years and made 120 payments, the remainder of your loan would be forgiven.

Article lecturers strikes
Randi, Mia and Jeff in a good frame. The rally stage framed by victory signsJubilant chief negotiator Mia McIver, UC-AFT president.Lecturers celebrate the new contract.AFT President Randi Weingarten and Mia McIverCFT President Jeff FreitasLecturers celebrate the new contract.CFT Vice President Kent Wong, UCLA Labor Center

UC lecturers greet new contract as “a game changer” and “only the beginning”
PHOTO GALLERIES

The view from Westwood

UCLA — It was about 3 a.m., UC-AFT President Mia McIver recalled, when negotiators for the University of California texted the administration’s “final offer.” McIver knew that all major contract issues, from job security to salary increases, were settled. She also knew that 6,500 lecturers were set to strike at all nine UC campuses in a few hours.

Article lecturers strikes

BREAKING: Strike averted — UC lecturers reach groundbreaking settlement at 4 am

SUMMARY: UC-AFT reached a groundbreaking settlement with UC administration in the middle of the night. The planned two-day ULP strike has been called off.  There will be noon rallies to celebrate today at all nine campuses. 

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Article lecturers strikes

What does a UC-AFT strike look like?
PHOTO GALLERY: Lecturers strike in 2002 for job security

Tenuous system torn apart by denial of three-year contracts to experienced teachers

Anger among lecturers at UC Davis finally boiled over at the end of the spring semester. On May 29 and 30, 2002, non-tenured faculty walked the picket line instead of teaching classes, and turned the campus entrance on A Street into an impromptu educational institution.

Article lecturers strikes

Show solidarity with UC-AFT! Join the ULP strike Wednesday and Thursday

Update: The strike is called off after an agreement was reached in the early morning hours of November 17. See the news story. 

Late Saturday night, the lecturers of the University Council-AFT announced that they have notified UC management that lecturers will take part in an unfair labor practice strike on November 17 and 18. This strike is about a pattern of bad faith bargaining and unfair labor practices committed by President Michael Drake’s administration.

Article PT campaign part-time faculty
graphical presentation of inequality in healthcare

CFT launches campaign to secure healthcare for part-time faculty
“Adjuncts deserve, at the very least, the basic right of healthcare”

The pandemic has pushed many harsh realities in higher education to the forefront, none more so than the inadequacy of healthcare for part-time faculty. With the cost of an average COVID hospitalization, according to a number of sources, running in excess of $20,000, the financial effects alone on an uninsured part-timer contracting COVID can be devastating. Add a possible uninsured family member or members to the mix, and the reality becomes even more frightening.

Article lecturers contingent faculty
CFT Senior Vice President Lacy Barnes

Lecturers rally at nine UC campuses in statewide action
1700 supporters turn out to stand with lecturers

As hundreds of lecturers, students and other workers at the Berkeley campus of the University of California gathered in front of the MLK Student Center, they began to chant. “UC would not be anything, Without teaching faculty, ME!” Leading them was Lacy Barnes, senior vice president of the CFT, and former full-time faculty member and president of the State Center Federation of Teachers.

Article lecturers coronavirus

Back to the classroom, but no contract
Facing inequity, lack of COVID protections, 96% of UC-AFT members vote to authorize strike

As they have for the past two years, lecturers at the University of California continue their effort to get the administration to bargain a fair contract. The last agreement between the university and the University Council-AFT, expired on January 31, 2020. The union’s negotiating committee has met with UC’s bargaining team on 50 occasions, yet the four most fundamental issues are still outstanding — high turnover rates, lack of performance reviews, widespread uncompensated labor, and compensation itself.