Sunshine call-in meetings are usually quiet affairs. Not this time!

As mentioned in an earlier post, both sides have “sunshined” the articles they intend to open in this round of bargaining on April 2nd.

By law, the sunshine process also requires two open meetings, so that anyone can ask questions or express concerns to either side before formal bargaining begins. These meetings are held in the UCOP office in Oakland, and a conference call is set up so anyone can call in and speak up.

The first call was held on April 4th. UC’s lead negotiators were there, as well as our lead negotiator, Axel Borg. Typically, these meetings are viewed as a legal formality and no one calls. This time, it was different. Over the course of the two-hour meeting, 25 people called in to speak their mind in support of our union’s issues!

It was an eye-opening experience for the UC side of the table, according to Axel. “This was the first such action taken by any union and has sent a signal to UCOP that this time librarian bargaining will be unlike anything before,” he said. “The calls showed support for librarians from the lecturers as well as members of the public. The callers were supportive not only of economic issues like salary and professional development, but are concerned about management undermining librarian academic status and changing the criteria by which we are evaluated. Some of the changes are quite troubling in that management wants to include non-academic criteria and subject it to academic judgment.”

As Axel said, salary issues were mentioned by the vast majority of callers, touching on many aspects:

  • All the UCs are in high cost of living areas
  • Cost of housing crisis outpacing salaries
  • Librarian pay not comparable to state or community colleges
  • Need pay parity with other librarians at CA universities/colleges
  • UC pay not competitive
  • Losing job candidates when they look at pay vs. housing costs, etc.
  • Greater workload on fewer numbers of remaining staff due to salary saving when librarians leave/retire
  • Librarians finding it hard to imagine staying w/UC given the high cost of housing and inability to own a home/apt./condo

Additionally, there were many comments on the inadequate level of professional development funding, and its uneven application across the system. Many raised concerns about the lack of respect paid to the academic status of librarians in their work. Many more raised issues regarding flexibility in working arrangements, as telecommuting options are not being offered consistently.

The second sunshine call is coming up on April 16th from 10AM to Noon. We’re hoping to have an even bigger crowd of librarians (and those that love them) call in to speak their minds! If you would like to join the crowd, ask your campus representative of your bargaining team how you can sign up & call in.

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