University Articles

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.

California Teacher

Students need more mental health support on campus, faculty too

By Mia L. McIver, President UC-AFT

In a recent survey of UC-AFT faculty, members highlighted mental health as an issue that deserves our union’s attention and energy. UC students experiencing psychological challenges often seek support from lecturers and other contract faculty, who are sometimes the only faculty with whom they can develop a one-to-one relationship.

California Teacher Lecturers Librarians

Building a member-driven union at the university
An effective site rep structure reaches lecturers, librarians where they work

At UC Berkeley, 16 lecturer site representatives are fanning out across the sprawling campus. In Davis, the union is fielding at least 15. In both places, the effort to meet the challenge of a new era in public sector labor relations is part of an even larger move to change the culture of the union. 

California Teacher New Employee Orientation AB 119

Unions get full and timely access to new employees
New law leads to union negotiating rules for employee orientation

In April 2016, Julia Troche applied to be a lecturer in Egyptology at UCLA. “It was my alma mater as an undergrad, so this was a special position for me, a chance to give back to the institution that gave me so much,” she says. She’d received an email from the department chair of Near Eastern Language and Culture asking her to apply. “She told me there was no guarantee of continuing employment, but it would put me in a good place while I looked for a tenure-track appointment.”

California Teacher Contingent Faculty Academic Freedom

Contingent faculty and academic freedom in the age of Trump
Organizing the disenfranchised is the key to success

By Bob Samuels, President UC-AFT

Now that more than 75 percent of the instructors teaching in higher education in the United States do not have tenure, it is important to think about how the current political climate affects those vulnerable teachers. Although we should pay attention to how all faculty are being threatened, non-tenured faculty are in an especially exposed position because they often lack any type of academic freedom or shared governance rights. 

Members unite to fight Trump’s immigration orders
Council builds solidarity by engaging with members on issues that unite

Before the election our focus was on leadership development,” says Mia McIver, vice president for organizing for the University Council-AFT, “and the election brought us a sense of new urgency.” Strong leaders will provide the underpinning for the campaigns the union will undertake as it faces the Trump administration and a predictable tsunami of anti-union and anti-education measures.

California Teacher Librarians

Librarians negotiate professional development and salary
Entry-level pay lower than at CSU and the community colleges

The University Council-AFT is negotiating with UC over two key articles of its contract covering librarians — salaries and professional development funds — says Axel Borg, distinguished wine and food science bibliographer at UC Davis. He sums up the common concerns between the union and the university as competitiveness, compression, and consistency.