In this update:

  • UAW 5810 Contract Enforcement Wins
  • AB 504 Update – Picket Line Protection Bill
  • Contract Enforcement Actions at Berkeley and UCSD

Postdoc and AR Contract Enforcement Wins
Our collective power is only as strong as our ability and willingness to enforce the rights we have won through the grievance process and collective action. Over the past few months Postdocs and ARs across the state have won a number of important contract enforcement victories. If you think you are experiencing a violation of your contractual rights, fill out this form.

  • Stopping abusive conduct: At UCSD, UCR, UCB, and UCLA, Postdocs in abusive work environments have filed grievances using our new Respectful Work Environment article and have won various measures to ensure abuse-free workplaces including two Postdocs at UCR winning placement in new labs with departmental funding.
  • Job security rights: “Just cause” protections in our contracts means that you have due process rights if facing unfair discipline or termination. Recently, ARs at UCSF and UCSD have challenged termination attempts based on false allegations and won extensions to their appointments.
  • Reclaiming missed raises: Postdocs at UC Berkeley won back pay for raises that the university failed to implement on time, including hundreds of dollars in additional compensation for damages due to wage theft. Several hundred more Postdocs are part of ongoing campus grievances to fix raises due on April 1.
  • Step advancement: At UC Davis, 47 Junior Specialists who were incorrectly kept at Step 1 past the end of their first year secured back pay and advancement to Step 2; collectively they are receiving $120,000. Junior Specialists have found additional violations of step advancement at other campuses and are working to win back pay.
  • Misclassification: Several Postdocs at UCLA who were misclassified into Visiting Scholar titles are being reclassified at Postdocs and are provided back pay because they were initially denied salary that complies with the minimums in our union contract; in one case the Postdoc is receiving nearly $20,000.

AB 504 passes the Assembly!
The Picket Line Protection Act (AB 504) passed the California Assembly last Wednesday by an overwhelming vote of 48 to 12. The bill will now head to the California Senate. Public sector workers are one step closer to winning the right to sympathy strike! Stay tuned for opportunities to support the bill as it goes to the Senate and then to the governor’s desk.

Victory in Berkeley Physics Department
Last Friday, graduate workers in Physics at UC Berkeley won a major contract enforcement victory after marching on their department Chair’s office. Previously, the Berkeley Physics department ensured pay parity between GSRs and GSIs/TAs, meaning that graduate workers could select research groups based on their interests rather than financial constraints. This January, the department announced their intention to end this policy.

Workers addressed this with department leaders and circulated a letter with over 100 signatures. Despite this, the department refused to commit to maintaining pay parity. Workers scheduled a meeting with the Department Chair and invited all signatories of the letter. After 90 minutes of intense discussion with dozens of workers, the Chair agreed to commit to pay parity among all graduate worker job titles and pledged to establish regular meetings to discuss implementation mechanisms. This hard-fought victory showcases the power of collective action and highlights our capacity as workers to effect positive change in our workplace.

A crowd of workers standing in the UC Berkeley Physics Chair’s office. Many are wearing UAW 2865 jackets and Student Researchers United-UAW t-shirts. They are holding signs that say ‘Today is a good day to commit to pay parity’

Workers crowd the UC Berkeley Physics Chair’s office holding signs that say ‘Today is a good day for pay parity’. Photo credit: Olive Eilbott

Workers at San Diego rally for contract implementation
Also last Wednesday, workers at UC San Diego rallied to demand the full implementation of our new contracts. Hundreds of workers turned out and occupied a major intersection on campus. Across the state, UC leaders are hearing our message loud and clear: honor your word and implement the contracts you agreed to!

 A large group of workers march across campus with hand-drawn signs and a large white banner.

Workers at UC San Diego rally for contract implemetation.

In solidarity,
Sarah Arveson, UAW Local 5810 Vice President
Joyce Chan, UAW Local 5810 Recording Secretary