Glossary of Common Terms

Agency Fee: The amount that non-members pay through payroll deduction to support the costs of bargaining and representation.  The amount of UC-AFT agency fees is equivalent to member dues.

Agency Shop: A workplace in which an employee in the bargaining unit who refuses to join the union as a member must pay an agency fee to support the costs of the services the union provides.  UC-AFT is an agency shop (as opposed to an open shop, where no one is required to join a union, and a closed shop, where everyone is required to join a union.)

Arbitration: A way of settling grievances by calling in an impartial third party whose decision is final and binding.  Arbitration is the final step of our UC-AFT grievance process.

Article (of contract): A section of the contract or MOU that covers a specific topic.

Bargaining Committee: The group of UC-AFT members responsible for liaising between our UC-AFT negotiators and members on campus, keeping Local members informed and soliciting their feedback on the bargaining process.

Bargaining Unit: A specifically identified or defined group of employees, with a community of interest, who engage in collective bargaining with their employer.  UC-AFT currently has two bargaining units, Unit 17 for librarians and Unit 18 for lecturers and non-Senate faculty.  Each bargaining unit negotiates its own, separate contract.

Coalition: A group of union allies, typically a number of different unions working together.

Collective Bargaining: The process by which UC-AFT members and leaders collectively negotiate the terms of our employment with management.

Community of Interest: Similarities in employer, wages, hour, and other conditions of employment that allow workers to join together in a bargaining unit. A community of interest may also be established according to similarity in factors such as skills, interests, duties, working conditions, interchange and contact among employees, the employer’s organizational and supervisory structure, bargaining history, and extent of union organization among employees.

Contract/Contract vs. MOU: the Memorandum of Understanding between our union and UC.  Contract and MOU are often used interchangeably.

Council: The group of UC-AFT statewide leaders and Local elected representatives who are the governing and voting body of UC-AFT.  The Council convenes four times per year at Council meetings.

Council Meeting:  The quarterly governance gathering of UC-AFT statewide and Local officers and members where union business is administered and proposals are discussed, debated, and voted on.

Deprofessionalization: The process of reassigning job duties from highly skilled and experienced workers to less-qualified workers.

Dues: The amount UC-AFT members pay through payroll withholding to support the costs of running our union.  In UC-AFT, the dues amount is equal to the agency fee paid by non-members in the bargaining unit.

Duty of Fair Representation (DFR): The legal obligation on the part of the union, as exclusive bargaining agent, to represent all of the employees, members and non-members alike, fairly without discrimination, obvious negligence, or through arbitrary or capricious decisions. A union that commits a DFR violation can be charged with unfair labor practice at the NLRB or sued in court.

Exclusive Bargaining Agent: The local union recognized as the only union authorized to represent employees in a designated bargaining unit. This is usually determined as the result of a representation election. UC-AFT is the exclusive bargaining agent for University of California non-Senate faculty and librarians.

Fee Payer: An employee who is within the bargaining unit and must pay agency fees but who has not joined our union as a member.

Field Representative: Field Reps are our salaried staff members who support our member volunteers in running our union.  Field Reps are often responsible for helping coordinate member recruitment, member outreach and education, grievance representation, and other forms of organizing.

Free Rider: An employee who refuses to join the union but gets, without cost, the benefits of a contract obtained through the efforts of the dues-paying members.  Agency fees are mechanisms for prohibiting free riders.

Grievance: A formal claim by an employee or by our entire union that a specific provision of our contract/MOU has been violated, misinterpreted, or misapplied by the employer.

Health and Welfare Benefits: Plans that provide medical, dental, vision, or psychiatric care, disability insurance, and life insurance.  Access to health and welfare benefits is negotiated through our contract.

HEERA: The Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act is legislation enacted in California in 1979, which allowed employees at public institutions of higher education to unionize and provided rules for unions and management.  It also authorizes PERB to oversee the relationship between unions and management.

Impasse: The point in bargaining where a stalemate has been reached with no prospect of a change of position by either party.

Informational Picket: A labor action in which workers are physically present on a picket line, carrying signs, chanting, and passing out informational literature.  An informational picket differs from a strike because it does not involve a work stoppage.

Labor Action: Activity coordinated by workers in order to protest and/or change working conditions.  Labor actions may be formal or informal, sanctioned or prohibited by the contract.  They often involve work stoppages, and a strike is the most consequential form of labor action.

Labor-Management Meeting: formal or informal meetings between our union and management or labor relations, typically to discuss issues on the local level.

Labor Union: An organization that exclusively represents a bargaining unit and collectively bargains terms and conditions of employment. Unions also engage in work that indirectly benefits their members by engaging in community and political activities.

Layoff: Involuntary separation from employment resulting from no fault of the employee.

Lobbying: One of many UC-AFT activities, lobbying is the practice of communicating with elected officials about issues that are important to us.

Local: Short for “Local Union,” the basic unit of union organization.  UC-AFT comprises nine separate Locals, one for each undergraduate campus.

Lockout: Occurs when the employer prevents employees from providing labor, aimed at causing financial hardship to force organized employees to yield in negotiations.  This is currently not allowed while the MOU is active.

Management: Also called “admin.” The party representing the employer that sits opposite the union in negotiations and grievances.

Member: Usually, this refers to someone who has signed a membership form to join the union and become a dues-payer with voting rights. “Bargaining unit member” refers to anyone who is in Unit 17 (librarians) or Unit 18 (lecturers).

MOU: The UC-AFT/UC Memorandum of Understanding, also known as “the contract.”  Contract and MOU are often used interchangeably.

NLRB: The National Labor Relations Board is the private sector analogue to the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). It is an agency with oversight over all public sector employees represented by unions. NLRB oversees elections when new bargaining units are organized and adjudicates in cases of Unfair Labor Practices and unions that have reached impasse in bargaining.

Non-Represented Faculty/Librarians: Non-represented librarians are excluded from the Unit 17 bargaining unit because of their status as supervisors/managers, per HEERA. Non-represented faculty include all the faculty not within Unit 18 (excepting Senate faculty at UCSC who are represented by the American Association of University Professors, which is not an exclusive bargaining agent). This includes Senate faculty, adjunct faculty, and visiting faculty.

Non-Senate Faculty: Colloquially, a term interchangeable with Unit 18 faculty, who are by definition not eligible to vote in the UC Academic Senate. This term can technically also encompass non-represented faculty at UC who are also not Senate faculty.

Organizing: Efforts to build collective strength to achieve goals and objectives, including creating/joining a union, building leverage to win gains in a contract or in practice, or developing members to become more engaged and empowered in their union and at their jobs.

Organizing Committee: A group of members who plan and implement campaigns to a) engage bargaining unit members or voting members around goals and objectives or b) engage non-represented employees to join or create a union.

Past Practice: A term and condition not covered by the MOU that has nevertheless been in place.  Usually, changes to past practice can be grieved; Unit 17 and Unit 18 MOUs both render changes to past practice unable to be grieved.

PERB: The Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) is the body with oversight over all public sector employees represented by unions. PERB oversees elections when new bargaining units are organized and adjudicates in cases of Unfair Labor Practices and unions that have reached impasse in bargaining.

Protest: An assembly of members and allies to protest a practice, policy, proposal, etc.

Rally: An assembly of members and allies to promote a common goal or interest.

Re-Opener Bargaining: In the Librarian’s MOU for 2013-2018, a provision was included that either our union or UC could re-open two articles on 4/12016 or 4/1/2107.  UC-AFT did open two articles (salary and professional development) in 2016.  These negotiations were commonly known as re-opener bargaining.

Senate Faculty: At UC, tenured faculty who have voting membership in the Faculty Senate, which shares governance with UC.  Also referred to as “ladder faculty.”

Salary Scale: A transparent scale on which all employees are placed.  Salary scales typically reflect what a full-time employee earns annually.

Side Letter: A collectively bargained agreement that is not part of the MOU but holds both parties to its language. It can address issues that are not covered in the MOU, modify the MOU, or clarify MOU language.

Strategic Campaign: A strategic campaign has concrete goals and objectives, which are achieved through an escalation of tactics.

Strike: Following an authorization vote from the membership, the union may go on strike under certain legal conditions, usually including contract expiration.  Striking union members withhold their labor to leverage financial and PR distress for management to win objectives.

Successor Bargaining: when the entire MOU is open for negotiation

Sunshine Date: A point early in negotiations when both sides – the union and the administration – reveal which articles of the contract they intend to negotiate

Tentative Agreement/TA: when UC and UC-AFT have agreed to new terms in the MOU, but the union membership has not voted to ratify the new language yet

UCOP: University of California Office of the President; this term is commonly used as shorthand for the UC Labor Relations negotiating team.

UCRP: UC Retirement Program colloquially refers to the UC Pension. However, it now includes UC’s defined contribution (DC) program and ultimately includes all retirement plans that UC contributes to.  It excludes the Safe Harbor accounts.

Unemployment Insurance: A benefit that both employees and employers pay for through payroll deductions that employees who see a reduction or loss of work can apply for through the state to receive income as they search for additional work.

Unfair Labor Practice: An action that violates the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA), the law that allows for and governs higher education public sector unions and is administered by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB).

Union: An organization that exclusively represents a bargaining unit and collectively bargains terms and conditions of employment. Unions also engage in work that indirectly benefits their members by engaging in community and political activities.

Unit 17: The bargaining unit exclusively represented by UC-AFT that includes all represented librarians at UC, excluding librarians at Hastings.  Hastings librarians have their own bargaining unit. All Unit 17 members operate under one Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Unit 18: The bargaining unit exclusively represented by UC-AFT that includes non-senate faculty (NSF).  Colloquially referred to as “Lecturers,” Unit 18 also includes Demonstration Teachers, Field Faculty (Social Welfare), and Supervisors of Teacher Education.  All Unit 18 members operate under one Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Weingarten Rights: The right for a union member to affirmatively request the presence of a union representative in meetings that could lead to discipline or dismissal.  This includes postponing the meeting until a union representative is available. This right is waived if the union member does not make a request.