Rank and file appeal to the University Librarians

While our Table Team was hard at work last week hashing out the details of a hoped-for package deal, our librarians wanted to make sure that UC Library administrators understood how much these issues matter to us, and how vital this phase of negotiations is to reach a deal.  So, we drafted a letter to the University Librarian on each campus – you can read UCLA’s version here, as an example. Due to the herculean efforts of our local organizing committees, a vast majority of our members signed the letters, and they were hand-delivered on Tuesday, March 12th.  Most campuses also read a prepared statement aloud.  Below are recaps from some of the campuses on how this action played out…

UC Riverside

17 out of 20 union librarians signed the letter, representing 85% of our membership. One of the three librarians who did not sign was away on leave, so was not available to consult; thus 17/19=~89.5%. Since the UL Steven Mandeville-Gamble declined our request for an appointment, the signed letter was hand delivered to his executive assistant around noon on 3/12, to deliver directly to the UL. Copies of the letter were sent to Chancellor Wilcox, Provost & EVC Larive, VPAP Walker, and Academic Senate Chair Rodriguez.

UC San Diego

At UCSD, twelve librarians dropped into the office of the University of Librarian and he was quite surprised to see our strength in numbers. We read the statement aloud and handed over the letter which had 40 signatures from represented and non-represented librarians alike. Erik thanked us for coming and we thanked him for accepting the letter. It was a successful campaign on our part and we are hopeful that he’ll take our statement seriously, though he gave no indication of support one way or the other.

UC Santa Cruz

A delegation of 3 librarians met with our UL, AUL for Planning & Resource Management, and HR Manager at 8:30am on Tuesday. We read the statement and handed over the letter which had 15 signatures (out of our 20 librarians – including rep and non-rep). Elizabeth thanked us for coming and spoke in general terms about valuing librarians. We thanked her for making the time to meet with us and accepting the letter. The overall experience was very positive.

UC Santa Barbara

Except for one member on leave, all of the member librarians at UCSB signed the letter to our UL, Kristin Antelman. On Tuesday, Gary Colmenar and Yolanda Blue scheduled a 15 minute appointment with Kristin. We wanted to personally deliver the letter and to have cordial discussion about UC librarians’ important contributions to the University of California, as well as other local UCSB issues that impact recruitment and retention.  We advised Kristin that other campus librarians were submitting letters to their ULs. And, UCSB librarians will submit the letter to our Chancellor, Henry Yang. We emphasized that UC negotiators have failed to address our reasonable proposals. While Kristin noted that the ULs had limited involvement in bargaining, except for some budgetary issues, we emphasized that librarians needed the ULs support to urge UCOP negotiate a fair contract.  Surprisingly enough, our discussion continued well past 15 minutes (the discussion lasted for over 45 minutes). On Wednesday, March 13, Gary sent the librarians’ signed letter to UCSB’s Chancellor Yang.

UC Berkeley

6 members of the Berkeley rank and file personally delivered the letter signed by our librarians to Jeff MacKie-Mason in a short meeting. Our members presented the points in the letter to MacKie-Mason, emphasizing our professional status and how the contract needs to recognize and protect that status and for his support. He thanked us for the letter.

UC Davis

We had a delegation of ten librarians and lecturers.  MacKenzie Smith was in the middle of a budget meeting, so we didn’t get much time to discuss.  Everybody on campus this week signed (25 out of 27 librarians). We followed up by emailing the letter and signature sheet to chancellor, provost, chair and vice-chair of academic senate, chair and vice-chair of academic federation.


We tried to set appointment with UL Ginny Steel, but her schedule was booked all day, so we made a time with her assistant to deliver the letter. Approximately 8 Librarians showed up for the action plus a member of our undergraduate student labor org (SLAP). 

Several of us took turns reading the statement out to Ginny’s assistant. She asked for a copy of the statement to give Ginny with the letter, and we gave her one. The letter we delivered had our physical and online signatures combined. We gathered approx 60 out of our 90 represented librarians, plus some non-represented librarians signatures! And most were signed in-person–the amazing result of so many of our organizing committee members and cluster reps putting in the crucial footwork and the face-to-face time to librarians spread across our large campus!  



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