Bargaining Update #7 — November 19, 2008

Librarian Bargaining Update for November 19, 2008
By Mike Rotkin, Chief Negotiator for Unit 17

On Wednesday, November 19, at the UCOP office in Oakland, the UC-AFT and the University Administration completed the second day of resumed bargaining. On the table are economic issues including salaries, the level of Professional Development Funds (PDF) available to Librarians on the campuses, child care support and tuition waivers. Our focus at the first two meetings has been on salaries and the economic context that affects the discussion over salaries. On the table currently is the UC-AFT’s proposal to bring UC Librarian salaries up to comparability with those at CSU.

The discussion remains cordial, but there has not yet been any significant movement at the table. Most of the time has been spent with the UC-AFT team presenting information that sets the context for bargaining. We have presented graphs, tables, and charts that demonstrate how far UC Librarian salaries lag behind the market and specifically behind Librarian salaries at CSU, most community colleges, and California public libraries. All of the members of the UC-AFT team have also shared information that we have been collecting about the negative impacts of low Librarian salaries on recruitment and retention in the UC Libraries. We have consistently argued that the negative impacts of low salaries is not just felt by the Librarians and their families, but that low salaries are negatively impacting the quality of services being provided by UC libraries to faculty, students, staff, and the general public.

On November 19, Karen Sawislak, UC-AFT Executive Director and Negotiating Team member, presented compelling information that UC has more than enough funds to meet the salary proposal for Librarians presented by the UC-AFT. Using former fact-finding reports issued with respect to other unions in 2005 and 2008 and more current information about the large pool of unrestricted financial assets held by UC, ED Sawislak made a compelling argument that the issue is “not the ability of the UC Administration to fund Librarian proposal, but how they prioritize those needs against other University goals. She also presented an impressive list of groups for whom the University appears to have found funding even after the recent financial “meltdown” in the world market – again reinforcing the point that the issue is not whether UC has money, but how they choose to spend it.

Generally, the response from the University Administration team has been supportive but totally non-committal. A number of times at the table, their chief Negotiator Myron Okada has said that they realize that Librarian salaries lag behind the market and that they would pass on the arguments and information that our team has presented to them to the University officials who provide the Administration team with their parameters for bargaining. It would, however, be misleading to suggest that they have encouraged us to expect a significant salary offer from them in the near future.

We will return to the table for further bargaining on December 10 and we are expecting to see a counter proposal from the University Administration at that time.

Meanwhile, the Negotiating Team appreciates the educational work and actions that increasing numbers of Librarians have been taking on several campuses. We continue to believe that our success at the bargaining table is directly related to the level of activism expressed by the Librarians for whom we are bargaining on each of the UC campuses.

If you have questions about Librarian bargaining, you can contact any member of our Negotiating Team [e-mails redacted]:

Harrison Decker, UCB
Ken Firestein, UCD
Mitchell Brown, UCI
Lise Snyder, UCLA
Steve Mitchell, UCR
Chimene Tucker, UCSB
Kenneth Lyons, UCSC
Dan Suchy, UCSD
Karen Sawislak, UC-AFT
Mike Rotkin, UC-AFT
Miki Goral, UC-AFT

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