After the February 22nd bargaining session in Santa Cruz, the message from the table team was clear: now is NOT the time to sit back. At the UCLA Librarian Organizing Committee meeting days later, a group of local leaders decided to take a vacation day and drive down to UC San Diego to attend the day of bargaining on March 4th. We decided it would be such a shame to miss out – after all, it’s only 120 miles! After coordination with active UCLA librarians Rebecca Fordon and Lauren McDaniel, along with former Temporary Librarian from UCLA Special Collections Melissa Haley (whose term of employment with UCLA expired in late January), we buckled up and confronted our collective, well-founded fear of rush-hour traffic from LA to San Diego.
Three hours later…
We arrived at UCSD a little after 10am and made our way over to the stunning, brutalist Geisel Library. While we were late, we entered the Seuss Room before management, where we learned that bargaining would not commence until the early afternoon! The table team had already turned the long delay into an opportunity to take questions from the many represented librarians present, and communicate to them how invested the team is in working towards the best contract terms possible.
It was encouraging to see so many guests in the Seuss Room to observe bargaining. In addition, several students enrolled in UCSD Sociology Prof. Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra’s “Economy and Society” class conducted interviews for their class. Not only asking very direct questions about ways in which our contract affects working conditions, they wanted to know more about the Janus vs AFSCME ruling, gender pay gaps, and other labor issues. We really appreciated the questions, and the students did not shy away from the bargaining day bake sale to show their support!
Still hopeful at this point about potential good news from the management side, the emphasis briefly shifted to the bake sale tables, right next to the Silent Tree just outside the Geisel Library. It is irrefutable that UCSD librarians know how to bake and organize and make a sale – in only one hour they raised over $350! It was energizing to be reunited with colleagues, including several alumni from the UCLA Library and Information Science program and two former UCLA temporary librarians now at UCSD, and to have candid conversations about our working conditions. The UCAFT strike fund is growing rapidly – with a transfer of union funds, several anonymous donations, the fifth installment of the bargaining day bake sale at UCSD, and the ongoing Venmo donations, the fund now has over $25,000! Click here to donate to the fund right now!
1PM approached quickly, and we hurried back to the Seuss Room to hear management’s responses. Our UCLA roadtrip team was outraged with the UC’s tactics as the afternoon proceeded. (See the latest Bargaining Update for details.) We drove to San Diego with cautious optimism to see some good faith talks at the table, but instead watched management deliver a clear signal of disrespect. After their insulting proposals were laid out in detail, the librarians went into caucus, and the commitment from our table team members was clear. The bargaining progress will move forward with a commitment to maintain the integrity of our contract goals, with absolute conviction that librarians deserve a fair contract which enables respect and dignity in the workplace.
As we look towards Berkeley for the next bargaining date on Wednesday, March 13rd and to turning up the heat at the table (and in our kitchens for more bake sales!), we hope that the UC comes to realize that we are committed to our struggle on behalf of all the hardworking librarians we respect and treasure. Moreover, that respect and commitment fully extends to our represented brothers and sisters in AFSCME, CNA, CIR/SEIU, Teamsters, UAW, and UPTE. We will not be stopped by bad traffic, or discouraged by lousy bargaining tactics! We are fighting for colleagues we treasure, and UCOP should not test our resolve.