University Articles

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University

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

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.

Article Lecturers Contingent Faculty

Job security still on the table for UC lecturers, members vote to authorize strike
UC-AFT keeps the pressure on for fair continuing appointments

Update: On June 1, UC-AFT members voted to authorize a strike, with a “strong majority” of  nearly 7,000 members turning out for the vote, and 96% voting to authorize a systemwide strike should the UC Office of the President fail to meet UC-AFT’s collective bargaining demands.

Article Part-time faculty

Adjuncts at the table to win a New Deal for Higher Education
National campaign calls for sea change in higher ed

While the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified longstanding societal inequities in America, public higher education was already in a state of crisis, from the staggering costs of college, to the lack of access and support for lower income students, Black, indigenous, and people of color, the deteriorating, or clear lack of infrastructure, the reciprocal increase in highly paid administrative positions, and last but not least, decrease in full-time tenure track positions.

Article

CFT joins campaign to forge a New Deal for Higher Education

With the new Biden administration and Congress come new opportunities to ensure significant, sustainable public investment in higher education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the long-standing crisis in public higher education. Declining state support, the erosion of tenure and shared governance, the increased use of contingent appointments, and the loss of the faculty voice on campus are threatening the core mission of higher education in our society. Now is the time to stand up for a just, inclusive system of higher education — one that can help transform our society.

We need a New Deal for Higher Education.

Article AFT Shared governance Part-time faculty

Contingent faculty team up, pass national shared governance policy
AFT Convention adopts resolution crafted by UC and community college faculty

While the COVID-19 pandemic meant that this summer’s AFT Convention had to go virtual, and in turn, resulted in format changes which made schedules tighter, and the work of those attending harder in many respects, one of the great achievements for CFT was the passage of a resolution calling for the right of contingent faculty to participate in shared governance.

Article Coronavirus

New working groups align UC-AFT with nationwide racial justice efforts
Hardship fund helps members in need due to pandemic, wildfires

By Mia McIver, UC-AFT President 

Contingent teaching faculty and librarians at the University of California recently voted to create three new working groups to combat racism and support each other with mutual aid. With the firm conviction that Black Lives Matter, UC-AFT members aim to align our union’s efforts with those of activists fighting for racial justice nationwide.

Article

State Dept. of Health issues reopening guidelines for higher education
Includes areas of note for community colleges

The California Department of Health released its reopening guidelines for higher education on August 7.

While most of the guidance is geared to four-year colleges and universities, there are also some significant areas of note for the community colleges, which are summarized here.

Now – yes, now – is the time for contingent faculty to organize
If we don’t fight now, we may not get another chance

By Josh Brahinsky and Roxi Power, UC-AFT Santa Cruz

When graduate-student workers at the University of California at Santa Cruz voted overwhelmingly in December to reject their statewide union contract and follow the West Virginia teachers’ model of a wildcat strike, the precarious lives of academic workers became a news story once again.

Article Lecturers

Thousands of UC lecturers mobilize for job rights, fair salaries
Academic and blue collar workforce fight back against university’s substandard pay

When Josh Brahinsky isn’t teaching “Academic Literacy and Ethos” and “Brain, Mind, and Consciousness” classes to new students at UC Santa Cruz, the lecturer is researching bio-cultural anthropology at Stanford University, teaching at San Jose State, or leading online classes at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania.

“UC only pays me $19,900 yearly,” Brahinsky said. “That’s not enough to live on, so I have to make up the difference somewhere else.”

Article Lecturers

Telling, Not Being the Joke
A personal essay by Andrew Tonkovich

Q: Tell me, how long have you been working here?

A: Ever since they threatened to fire me.

That old cornball joke still makes me laugh, 50 years after I read it in a kids magazine. I understood it then as honest if everyday acknowledgement by the presumably once-lazy worker of his or her required acquiescence to power, and of isolation. But its splendid trick syntax and on-the-nose calling out of the coercive relationship of management to labor suggested more, even to a 10-year-old: cognizance of at least the potential inherent power of the worker — all workers? — to apprehend, to subvert, to jest, however fatalistically, cynically or — my own favorite — insubordinately.

Article Labor art

How unionizing the Lusty Lady has influenced faculty members
Novelist and poet works to organize faculty in creative departments

When Aya de León started as a lecturer in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and director of its Poetry for the People program, she was excited to join AFT Local 1474. She’s been working since she was a teenager, de León says, but this is the first job where she has a union to represent her.

When she was younger, the idea of being in a local seemed very adult to her, and now being a member of one makes her feel she has arrived, she says. That’s just one reason she’s excited to be a union member.

Article Lecturers

UC lecturers take bold stand with university in negotiations
Momentum has built activism and organizing success

Eighty UC-AFT members and their allies showed up at the first bargaining session at UC Davis as lecturers began their contract negotiations last spring. The impressive number of rank-and-file members in the room to support the team helped them win open bargaining, says UC-AFT President Mia McIver.